Zee chief, son get shield from arrest till Dec 14

Zee group chairman Subhash Chandra and his son Punit Goenka were on Thursday granted interim protection from arrest until December 14 by a Delhi court in a case relating to an alleged extortion bid by two Zee editors who were arrested last month following a complaint by Congress MP Naveen Jindal's company.

Additional sessions judge Raj Rani Mitra said it will be decided on December 14 whether the interim protection can be extended or not. The order was passed after arguments on the anticipatory bail applications of Chandra and his son. They have been called by Delhi Police on December 8 to join the investigation.

Advocates Geeta Luthra and Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Chandra and his son, said their clients were ready to join the probe if the police gave an assurance that they would not be arrested during questioning.

But special public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan opposed the plea, saying "we cannot commit or assure that they will not be arrested".

ASJ Raj Rani Mitra later ordered: "The matter be renotified for further arguments and fresh report sought from the Investigating Officer (IO) on December 14. In the meantime, applicants shall not be arrested. However, they are directed to surrender their passports to the IO."

Zee editors Sudhir Chaudhary and Sameer Ahluwalia are currently in judicial custody after being arrested on the charge of attempting to extort an advertisements contract worth Rs 100 crore from Jindal's company. On Tuesday, police sought custody of Chaudhary and Ahluwalia for a day after sending a third notice to Chandra.

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