Zee News sends Rs150 crore defamation notice to Naveen Jindal

Zee News today sent a defamation notice of Rs150 crore to Naveen Jindal alleging that his press conference on a sting operation by his company Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, was an attempt to divert attention from demand for independent probe in the coal blocks allocations controversy.

Jindal, in an extortion case filed against Zee News, had accused the channel of demanding a bribe from him for not airing its story on the coalgate scam, in which Jindal's company had been named.

In a recent sting operation Jindal Steel screened, some editors of the channel were shown demanding bribe for not airing its story on the coalgate scam.

Zee News said it completely rejected and condemned the doctored evidence produced by Jindal, adding, it saw this as a deliberate attempt to malign the trustworthy television network.

In a three-day time period it granted to Jindal, he has been asked to withdraw all his unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations against Zee News, failing which Jindal would face civil and criminal actions initiated by Zee News.

The channel added it had always been the forerunner in exposing Naveen Jindal's double standards as a politician and industrialist in Coalgate scam. It added Zee News clearly understood that it was to suppress the covergage that Zee News was telecasting on Coalgate that the corporate communications team from JSPL first tried to bribe Samir Ahluwalia with Rs25 crore, which was turned down, and was later offered a Rs100 crore advertising deal to end the coverage of Coalgate scam.

Zee News said, "Zee News today and in past has always been in pursuit of seeking truth in the Coalgate scam, and have had several interactions with Jindal and his officials. We accuse Jindal and JSPL of maligning the name of Zee News since they chose to display an edited / doctored CD where only selected portions were shown. Mr. Jindal has a history of unfairly targeting those who dare to confront him with the truth."

Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) issued a statement responding to Zee News' notice saying, "JSPL has filed a defamation suit last Thursday itself, for Rs 200 crore against the four persons of Zee at Mumbai High Court, notices for which have already been issued to Subhash Chandra, Puneet Goenka, Sudhir Chaudhary and Sameer Ahluwalia of Zee News and Zee Business. The case is likely to come for hearing next week at Mumbai High Court."