Cops seek custody to enable them to confront Zee Group chief in Rs 100 cr extortion case
Two Zee editors were today remanded back in two-day police custody by a Delhi court to enable the investigators to confront them with Zee group head Subhash Chandra and his son in a case of alleged extortion bid of Rs 100 crore from Congress MP Naveen Jindal's company.
"Two days police custody is granted," Metropolitan Magistrate Ankit Singla ordered.
Chandra and his son Puneet Goenka, MD of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, today joined the investigation following the notice issued by the Delhi Police.
They joined the probe after a court on December 6 had granted them interim protection from arrest till December 14.
The Delhi Police had moved the application before the court seeking police remand of the arrested Zee News head Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business Editor Samir Ahluwalia, whose bail plea were rejected.
They were arrested on November 27 and were subjected to custodial interrogation for two days before being sent to judicial custody on November 30.
Additional Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan sought three-day further police remand for the two Zee editors saying, "They were remanded in police custody on November 28 for two days.
"During the police custody efforts were made to join Zee group chairman Subhash Chandra and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd MD Puneet Goenka in the investigation as accused persons had to be confronted with them to reach to the bottom of the criminal conspiracy," he said.
"As both Chairman and MD were out of the country, a request was made to remand both Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia to judicial custody," the prosecutor submitted.
The prosecutor further stated that "the accused persons are to be confronted with them to explore the entire truth behind the conspiracy of the case."
"We have corroborative piece of evidence to prove alleged extortion bid made by the accused persons from Jindal's firm. He said it was not a single person's decision. So to unearth the whole conspiracy and prove that the top Zee bosses are also involved in the conspiracy, we need to confront them with Chandra and Goenka," he submitted.
"We arrested the two as they were acting on the behest of other senior persons involved in this," the prosecution said, adding "the two arrested accused and the co-accused, Chandra and Goenka, are sharing joint liability as it has also figured in the telephone record transcript that the editors spoke to their Chairman," the prosecution argued.
It also said, "it needed to find out how CAG report reached the Zee group and where the CAG report was distorted and prepared in the form of news."
"Custodial interrogation is a must as by that only we can collect evidence in the matter as the entire case is based on circumstantial evidence.
"All the evidence are with Sudhir, Samir, Chandra and Goenka and we can recover it only after confronting them with each other," Mohan said while informing the court that Chandra and Goenka have already joined the investigation this afternoon.
Defence counsel Vijay Aggarwal and Sunil Mittal opposed the three-day remand application, saying "the moment CAG report is tabled, it is also available on the Internet and is a document in public domain."
"We have aired what was in the report. Nothing was distorted," they submitted.
They also sought to know as to what the police did during the earlier police remand.
"The police had themselves requested for their judicial custody saying they had nothing to interrogate. Then how can they seek more remand and on what circumstances.
"The application is not maintainable as it is shown to be signed by a sub-inspector who is not present in the court, as against the mandate of the CrPC," they argued.
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