Zee Denies Charges, Terms Arrests of Editors an Attack on Press Freedom

Two senior journalists of Zee news channel were arrested in New Delhi on Tuesday on charges of trying to extort Rs. 100 crore from Congress MP Naveen Jindal’s group for not doing news reports on coal scam linking his firm.

The arrests on charges of extortion came following the registration of a case about 45 days ago on a complaint filed by Jindal’s company with Delhi Police’s Crime Branch. Sudhir Chaudhary, the head of Zee News, and Samir Ahluwalia, head of Zee Business, have been arrested, a senior police official said.

Jindal had last month released a CD in which purportedly showed footage in which the Zee journalists were trying to strike a deal with his company officials, telling them that their channel will not air negative stories of Jindal Group if the money is paid to them. Chaudhary had rubbished the allegations as “fabrication” and described it as “pressure tactics” to prevent the channel from doing such stories. “We have done a series of stories on coal scam based on official papers. This is a retaliation to our relentless campaign against corruption,” he had said.

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