Day after arrests, Zee News, Jindal firm trade charges

The company also asked if the owners of Zee had been served notices by Delhi Police. "If yes, then why are they trying to duck investigations?"

Zee News's CEO Alok Agrawal, who addressed the press conference with lawyer R K Handoo, alleged that Jindal had tried to influence Zee's investigation through various individuals including his eldest brother Prithvi Jindal, uncle Sitaram Jindal and politicians Digvijaya Singh of the Congress and Raman Singh and Arjun Munda of the BJP.

Agrawal also alleged that Jindal's mother Savitri Jindal had tried to put "emotional pressure" by asking Jawahar Goel, brother of Zee Group chairman Subhash Chandra, to intervene in the channel's investigation.

"We had stopped the broadcast of stories and asked Jindal group to provide us their version. However, rather than responding, they filed an FIR," Agrawal said.

JSPL has said that its representatives did indeed seek meetings with Zee editors to present their side of the story, but Zee had continued its "one-sided and malicious" coverage, and then sought a commitment of Rs 100 crore in advertising to stop the reports.

Zee News for the first time conceded Wednesday that Chaudhary and Ahluwalia had met JSPL officials, and that the alleged conversation about Rs 100 crore had in fact happened. Agrawal said the company had never denied the conversations, but "if we take just five minutes of a conversation stretching over hours, then it can be made to look incriminating".

Lawyer Handoo said, "The FIR was filed under Section 384 (extortion) read with Section 511 (attempt) of the IPC. They should have filed a case under Section 385 (attempt to extortion), but it was not done as any offence under that section is bailable." If no money changed hands, Handoo asked, "then how can it be termed as extortion?"

Both sides have filed defamation cases against each other in Bombay High Court.

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