Naveen Jindal, the chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), released a video of a sting operation carried out by his company to prove his accusations against Zee News that the channel demanded Rs. 100 crore from him to stop showing negative stories in relation to the coal scam.
Naveen Jindal accused Zee News editor Sudhir Choudhary and Zee business
editor Sameer Ahluwalia of being involved in extortion of money from him. Jindal said that initially the channel demanded Rs. 20 crore, and later on the demand rose to Rs. 100 crore in return of stopping negative coverage according to the news agency ANI.
“On September 10 when Ravi Muthreja ( head of corporate communications for Jindal Steel
) met Mr. Sameer Ahluwalia of Zee Business then he placed a demand of 20 crore rupees on the division of five crores for each year. On 12th September when the company management learnt about this incident, we were shocked because our company was in the business for last 40 years and the media has never treated us like this," said Naveen Jindal, Chairman, JSPL.
“In the three meetings that took place on 13,17, and 19 September, they started demanding 100 crores instead of 20 crores. There was a lot of commotion in the coffee shop where the meeting took place on September 10. You can hear Sudhir Choudhary, demanding 20 crores per year and justifying that five crores per year is way too less. This is how they tried building pressure and commit extortion. When they realized that we will not fall prey to their trap then from 24th September the channel again started broadcasting false stories about the company. Following which the board of directors of the JSPL met and decided to raise voice against such kind of extortion,” said Jindal.
“When the BEA summoned the channel and questioned them why a FIR has been lodged against them. The channel responded by saying that they had gone to conduct a sting on the company. When they were further asked to produce their tapes and recordings, the channel failed to produce anything and said that the agreement that was to be signed by the company would have been their proof. The association did not find the channel's justification strong enough. When we were summoned and produced the evidence against the channel then the association took action against Choudhary and removed him from the post of the treasurer,” added Jindal.
Zee News has refuted the charges by Naveen Jindal. In a statement the channel said that it was a deliberate attempt to malign and to defame the channel.
“He (Jindal) chose to display an edited/doctored CD where only selected portions are shown. Mr. Jindal has a history of unfairly targeting those who dare to confront him with the truth. Attempts by media houses like Zee News to bring out the final truth in the Rs. 1.86 lakh crore Coalgate scam are being muzzled by Mr. Naveen Jindal by distorting the truth,” the press statement by Zee said as reported by NDTV
Sudhir Choudhary said that it was Jindal Group, which tried to bribe him in a bid to stop the unfavorable stories with respect to the groups involvement in coal scam.