Zee chief questioned for second day

New Delhi, Dec 9: Zee Group chairman Subhash Chandra Sunday said he would sue Jindal Group for defamation over its allegation of Rs.100-crore extortion bid by two journalists of his channel even as the media baron faced police questions for the second consecutive day.

Chandra came along with his son and Zee Group managing director Puneet Goenka to the Delhi Police Crime Branch office in the afternoon for the questioning. Goenka was allowed to leave after 15 minutes of questioning. Chandra’s questioning went on for six hours and ended around 8 p.m., a police official told IANS.

Emerging from the questioning, Chandra told waiting mediapersons: “I am going to sue Jindal Group. I will take them to court for defaming me.”

“Jindal Group was offering even Rs.25 crore,” he alleged.

“I came to know about the case five days after the first information report (FIR) got registered by Jindal,” he claimed.

The complaint by Jindal was filed Oct 2.

Denying the extortion charges, Chandra said, “It was an attempt to prevent news reports on the coalgate scam.”

Police had told a local court earlier that they were treating Chandra as an accused as he knew about the dealings between his employees and a Jindal Group company.

The Jindal company had alleged that the Zee Group tried to extort Rs.100 crore from it in exchange for not airing negative stories over the company’s alleged involvement in the coal blocks allocations controversy.

On Saturday, investigators questioned Chandra and his son for nine hours. They were also brought face-to-face with two Zee journalists Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia, who are in two days’ police custody for the alleged extortion bid.

They were also brought face-to-face Sunday. “Today (Sunday) Chandra was brought face-to-face with Chaudhary and Ahluwalia,” a police official told IANS.

Chaudhary and Ahluwalia allegedly tried to extort Rs.100 crore from Jindal Power and Steel Ltd. in exchange for not filing news reports linking the firm to the irregular coal blocks allocation.

A court here Dec 6 granted Chandra and Goenka interim protection against arrest till Dec 14. Chandra and his son were told to deposit their passports with the investigating officer and join the probe.

Police earlier served notice on Chandra and his son in November, asking them to join the investigation after the arrest of Chaudhury and Ahluwalia Nov 27.

IANS