India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday warned Zee News editors, Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia, directing them to follow the procedure or else they will be sent back to jail once again.
Both editors, currently out on bail, are facing charges of extortion by industrialist, Naveen Jindal.
The Chief Justice of India, Justice TS Thakur, came down heavily on Chaudhary and Ahluwalia, who are both facing allegations of extortions up to Rs 100 crore by industrialist Naveen Jindal and are currently out on bail.
Justice Thakur told the editors’ lawyer that the accused journalists will have to return to jail if they withdrew their consent given to Delhi Police as condition to obtain bail.
Delhi Police too raised objections on the editors’ desire to withdraw their consent adding that the two editors were given bail only after they had assured of full cooperation with the investigating agencies.
The apex court has directed both the accused to submit their replies within two days before it hears the case again on Friday.
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.
As CEO of Live TV, he was responsible for commissioning a ‘sting’ about a Delhi school teacher, Uma Khurana, accusing her of running a prostitution racket and inducting school kids into it.
This led to her being publicly lynched by the parents, her arrest and complete humiliation. It was later found that the sting was done to settle scores and the accusations were false.
Chaudhary merely called his reporter a criminal, dusted the opprobrium off, only to be welcomed by Zee News.
Such was the intensity of the crime that the channel Live India was taken off air for over a month.