Naveen Jindal says sting shows ‘extortion bid’ by Zee
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Alleging an extortion bid by Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra and senior executives of news channels owned by his group, Congress MP and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) chairman Naveen Jindal Thursday released video clips which purportedly show that the media group sought a Rs 100-crore advertising deal for not airing adverse reports against JSPL on the coal block allocation controversy.
The video clips purportedly show Zee News editor and business head Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business editor and business head Samir Ahluwalia negotiating the deal with JSPL executives during three meetings reportedly held on October 13, 17 and 19. The Zee editors purportedly assure JSPL executives of "protection" against "negative" reports once the "arrangement" is finalised.
Speaking to reporters for the first time after his company filed an FIR with the Crime Branch of Delhi Police on October 2, Jindal accused the media group of extortion attempt and wilful defamation.
The original footage, reportedly comprising audio and video clips recorded by JSPL executives using spy cameras, was submitted with the FIR and sent for forensic verification by the police. The forensic reports have not come yet.
"The matter was under investigation, so we had decided not to speak to the media. But Zee has been misusing their platform and running one-sided negative reports against us and making all kinds of allegations...we, therefore, decided to present our side of the story and release this footage so that the people can make the right judgement," said Jindal.
While the total recording reportedly runs into two-and-a-half hours, about 15 minutes of the footage was released today.
In this, JSPL executives are heard telling Chaudhary and Ahluwalia that Zee had earlier asked for Rs 5 crore per year for four years. "25 (crore) per year for four years.... ho sakta hai ki humare kehne sunane mein kuch idhar udhar ho gaya ho (there may have been a communication gap)," Ahluwalia is heard replying.
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