Setback for Zee Editor Sudhir Chaudhary in Rs 100 crore extortion case, Supreme Court directs him to give voice samples


Supreme Court on Friday directed Zee Editors Sudhir Chaudhary and Sameer Ahluwalia to give voice sample in 100 crore extortion case.

The apex court also directed Investigating Officer to submit transcript of disputed conversation between Zee Editors and industrialist Naveen Jindal.

In a major setback to Chaudhary and Ahluwalia, the SC observed that petitioners couldn’t be expected to decide what text would be read in voice sample test.

The lawyer of Chaudhary and Ahluwali had made a plea for the copy of the text to be made available to them in advance, but the apex court rejected the demand.

Police and Director CFSL, the Supreme Court said, will decide the words for voice sample test.

The Director of CFSL was directed to provide the text. This will then be provided to the petitioners for voice sample test.

The entire exercise has to be completed within two weeks.

This came after the Supreme Court on Wednesday warned Chaudhary and Ahluwalia to follow the procedure failing which they will be sent to jail.

Chief Justice of India, Justice TS Thakur, had 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.

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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.

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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.