The lawyer representing Zee News editor, Sudhir Chaudhary and his colleague Samir Ahluwalia, has confessed that the alleged Rs 100 crore extortion tape had their clients’ voice.
Zee editor’s lawyers, Vijay Agrawal and Aman Lekhi, made this confession just before the hearing on Wednesday in response to a question from the CBI judge Vinod Kumar, who asked if he agreed that it was the voice of Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia in the video.
To which, the Zee executives’ lawyers answered in affirmative before adding that Jindal Steel and Power Limited was not providing the transcript of the conversation.
Judge Kumar asked, “Where’s the need for the transcript when you confess the voice in the tape is of your clients’?”
The lawyers replied saying that they feared it could be tampered by JSPL with the help of investigating agency, the Crime Branch.
The judge then asked the Investigating Officer if there was any possibility of tampering with the transcript of the conversation. The Investigating Officer denied any such possibility.
The court was then informed that since the Supreme Court had already directed the Investigating Officer to submit transcript and voice sample of the disputed conversation between Zee Editors and industrialist Naveen Jindal, the lower court should adjourn the case’s hearing.
After hearing the pleas from both the lawyers, the CBI court agreed to adjourn the hearing till 23 August.
Patiala House is currently hearing a plea seeking the cancellation of Zee editors’ bail.
Chaudhary and Ahluwalia were arrested in 2012 after a complaint by Jindal’s firm that they had demanded Rs 100 crore in lieu of not airing adverse news against the firm. Chaudhary and Ahluwalia were released on bail later.
Chaudhary was provided with X category personal security after the Narendra Modi government came to power. Zee is often perceived as a mouthpiece of the saffron party, even though the channel has denied the allegations.
Subhash Chandra, the channel’s owner, had earlier this year taken an unprecedented step to come on Live TV to deny allegations of being a BJP sympathiser.