New Delhi: Zee News Ltd has strongly opposed the denial of bail to its two Editors – Sudhir Choudhary (Zee News) and Samir Ahluwalia (Zee Business) in connection with a case relating to a series of exposes in the Coalgate scam involving Congress MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal. Both the editors would have exposed Mr Jindal’s efforts to silence the media’s coverage of Coalgate through Rs 100 crore-advertisement contracts.
Zee News Ltd stated that it sees today’s proceedings as another of the several coordinated efforts to muzzle the truth and harass the journalists to deter them from uncovering the Rs 1.86 lakh crore Coalgate Scam. The CAG has listed Mr Naveen Jindal promoted JSPL as the primary beneficiary in the Coalgate scam.
“We are disappointed but confident that justice will prevail as the two Editors are innocent. We hope to succeed in the superior court,” Rebecca John, Zee News Counsel, said.
“Today’s order is only on preliminary technical grounds and without consideration of merits,” RK Handoo, counsel, stated.
Zee News considers the entire episode of arrests of Zee Editors and the deliberate delay and denial of their bail since last week as a subversion of honest journalism and an attempt to prejudice and defame Zee News Ltd and deliberately divert attention from JSPL’s wrongdoings in the scam. Mr Jindal has a history of unfairly targeting those who dare to confront him with the truth.
Both the Editors of Zee News Ltd were arrested by the Delhi Police on November 27. The Editors were first sent to two days’ police custody after the arrest and then on November 30, they were sent to 14-day judicial custody. On December 1, the court had pulled up the Delhi Police for the curious absence of the Public Prosecutor and the Investigating Officer from the court while the bail applications of Zee News Editors were posted for hearing.
Zee has reiterated that the arrests are unwarranted, illegal and an attack on the freedom of the press. The arrests also have been strongly critiqued by various senior thought leaders from the media, civil society and governance.
Zee News Ltd is undeterred by such diversionary tactics adopted by Mr Jindal and JSPL and would stay focused on unravelling the ultimate truth in the Coalgate scam.