With FIR, Jindal gives police tapes of ‘meetings’ with Zee

FP

It's a sting operation and the TV channel seems to be at the receiving end. Along with its FIR against Zee TV, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) has provided the police with audio and video recordings of telephone conversations and three meetings held on September 13, 17 and 19 between Zee and JSPL officials at Delhi's Hyatt Regency.

The recordings have been sent for forensic analysis by police, sources said.

JSPL has named Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra and his son Punit Goenka as co-accused in its FIR alleging "criminal conspiracy, extortion, criminal intimidation and defamation" by Zee News Ltd and its officials.

The FIR alleges that Zee News editor and business head Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business editor and business head Samir Ahluwalia told JSPL officials at a meeting that the reports targeting JSPL and the demand of Rs 100 crore to stop their telecast was company strategy devised in consultation with the senior management.

Countering allegations by JSPL, Zee News has alleged that its executives were offered a bribe of Rs 100 crore to slow down its investigation into JSPL's role in the alleged coal block allotment scam.

Chaudhary, named as the prime accused in the FIR filed by JSPL on October 2, is also reported to have told the Broadcast Editors' Association on Wednesday that JSPL executives offered to pay Rs 20 crore a year for five years to halt the telecast of the reports.

Neither Zee nor JSPL responded to queries from The Indian Express.

JSPL's extortion complaint followed an ugly public showdown between the two parties around a month ago. JSPL boss and Congress MP Naveen Jindal manhandled a Zee News correspondent on September 10 after the latter stopped him outside a five-star hotel in Delhi and sought a comment on his "role" in the alleged coal block allocation scam.

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