Zee Media refutes allegations by CBI director Ranjit Sinha's lawyer

Essel Group Chairman, Dr Subhash Chandra on Monday refuted the contention by CBI director’s lawyer in the Supreme Court that Zee Media and its newspaper DNA was after Ranjit Sinha.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2014, 04:14 AM IST

New Delhi: Essel Group Chairman, Dr Subhash Chandra on Monday refuted the contention by CBI director’s lawyer in the Supreme Court that Zee Media and its newspaper DNA was after Ranjit Sinha.

"I am talking as a shareholder of Zee Media Corporation. I am not directly involved in any of Zee Media Corporation's TV channels, newspaper, online media and so on. I have given journalists all the freedom and have told them that they should do their work without fear and favour, keeping public interest in mind. I only expect the journalists as a shareholder that they will be honest and will not do any wrong story on anyone out of greed or write good about anyone. As far as the CBI director is concerned I do not think that DNA has done the story on any wrong premise. If they had done so then we would have received at least 20-25 legal notices till now from them whose names have been given,” he said.

On whether the source of the story should be revealed, he said that the SC has said in the past that they would not compel journalists to reveal their sources. “In this case too I do not think the court will interfere. However, the SC can give any directions,” he said.

On the question of whether media should stop doing expose, Essel Group Chairman maintained that these were difficult times. “The expose that Zee Media did on coal scam, on that one party leveled wrong allegations on us in connivance with the UPA government. As if we were asking for money from them. On top of that Delhi Police filed a false FIR against us. And then when they filed a chargesheet, then the trial court threw it out. Finally, the High Court told them to file a chargesheet, but the Delhi Police haven't done it till now as they have no evidence against us,” he said.

He added, “It is my duty as a shareholder to stand by journalists when they do expose. The company too stands by all. People who have filed wrong FIR against us will be caught.”

Essel Group Chairman also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that neither will he be corrupt, nor will he let anyone be corrupt and everyone welcomed that.

“As media it is our duty to stand by the PM as he cannot do everything alone,” he said.

DNA paper had done an expose regarding CBI director Ranjit Sinha's visitor's diary, in which it was revealed that the names in the diary pertaining to 2G spectrum scam and coal scam were big names accused in the scams.

The revelations made Sinha uncomfortable and on Monday his lawyer told the Supreme Court that Zee Media's newspaper DNA was after the CBI director.

As per Sinha's lawyer, DNA has knowledge of everything petitioner Prashant Bhushan is doing in the Supreme Court beforehand. Also that whatever is happening against Sinha in the court is being done by a newspaper.

The CBI director's lawyer added that it was important to bring to the fore as to who gave the visitor's diary of Sinha's residence to whom.

At the same time he also told the apex court that DNA paper belongs to Zee News which is owned by Subhash Chandra.

Sinha's lawyer further said that as per SC's rules, when a petition with an affidavit is filed in the court, then from where the information came and who gave it to whom has to be told to the court and so Bhushan must tell the court as to who gave him the information.

Replying to CBI director's lawyer, Bhushan said that those who gave information about the corrupt were whistleblowers and the identity of the whistleblowers should be kept secret. Bhushan said that he would not want the name of the whistleblower to be made public.

At the end the court directed Bhushan that he should give the name of the whistleblower and his address in a sealed envelope to the court.

Bhushan said that he told the court that he will have to ask the whistleblower about it and will also have to talk to centre for public interest litigation.

The next hearing of the case will be on September 22.

The big question is that if the chief of the investigating agency which is looking into the 2G scam and the coal scam meets the accused of the scam and their representatives at his house, then can the investigation be fair.

The question is also if the behaviour of the chief of the agency is not a crime on its own. If one looks at the Central government's service rules then no government servant or officer has the right to meet the accused at a personal level and that too at his house.

The Supreme Court is monitoring 2G case, Aircel-Maxis deal and coal scam, In spite of this, Sinha kept meeting the accused or their representatives at his home. Zee feels that this points towards derailing the investigation and a departmental inquiry should also be conducted in this matter.

Zee Media just wants to put forward the point that it is the protector of freedom of press and will remain so.

The following is the official reaction to the questions raised by CBI director's lawyer today by Zee Media Corporation Limited:

Zee Media stands by its expose against CBI director in its newspaper DNA. In the past, Zee Media has done many expose in the interest of the nation and will continue to do so in the future too without any fear or bias.

Zee Media also gives full freedom to its journalists to do stories in the interest of the nation.

Talking on the matter Associate Editor of DNA Raman Kripal said that the newspaper stood by the story and emphasised that their primary source of information was not Prashant Bhushan.

“We have got the base, we have got the register which is maintained at gate. There are 8-10 officials at the gate who maintain it. Its simple - Just match their handwriting. This will prove as to who is right and who is wrong. It is not easy to forge 300 pages. Also, it has almost been confirmed by all. CBI director and Reliance sent an e-mail confirming it and said so what. We are also saying, so what. Let the Supreme Court hold a probe into it,” he said.