Supreme Court issues notice to Govt, Jindal Steel on Zee plea

Supreme Court issues notice to Govt, Jindal Steel on Zee plea

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Union of India, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. and the Delhi Government on a petition by Zee News Limited (ZNL) praying for quashing of three FIRs, including the alleged extortion case, against the group and its editors.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, asked for the response within four weeks.

The bench issued notice to them on another Zee Group plea which questioned the Centre‘s showcause notice issued to it for airing a programme in which the news channel revealed the identity of the male friend and eye witness of the gangrape case on 16 December. The Centre had asked Zee to explain why its licence should not be terminated.

The Zee petition, which has been listed after four weeks, also seeks a stay of an Information and Broadcasting Ministry notice/communication of 31 January "to protect the Petitioners from unconstitutional state action violative of the Fundamental Right of the Petitioners under Article 19(1)(a)".

Earlier last month, the Delhi Court had taken cognizance of a defamation complaint against Congress MP Naveen Jindal and others and asked the Delhi Police to probe the role of Jindal and 16 other officials of his firm Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) who are named in the complaint filed by Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja asked the Station House Officer of the Tughlak Road in south Delhi to seize the minutes of meetings and other documents of Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) regarding termination of the membership of Chaudhary.

The Police had been asked to give a report within a month and the case listed for further hearing on 15 February.

Chaudhary had alleged that "false allegations" were leveled against him to tarnish his image.

"Keeping in view the fact that 15 out of 17 accused are residing outside the territorial jurisdiction of this court - PS Tuglak Road - and the law laid down in section 202 of the CrPC, it is directed that SHO, PS Tuglak Road (or his deputy) shall conduct an investigation qua the allegations made in the complaint," the court said.

It also said the SHO would investigate the role of each of the respondents relating to the two cause of actions described in the complaint.

Chaudhary, who filed his complaint through Zee News Ltd. counsel Vijay Aggarwal, had earlier said Jindal and JSPL officials had made "deliberately false" statements and registered a "false case" against him in the alleged Rs one billion extortion bid case and defamed him by leveling allegations against him at a press conference here.

“The Crime Branch of Delhi Police was doing one-sided investigation,” said Aggarwal. "Here on, the investigation will be under direction of the court and seizure of documents too,” he added, saying “now truth will come out.”

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