Zee News denies allegations of extortion by executives

Zee News today vehemently denied all allegations of extortion levelled against its two executives and said Congress MP Naveen Jindal along with his associates was pressuring the police to act on the matter.

Sudhir Chaudhary head of Zee News, and Samir Ahluwalia, head of Zee Business, were arrested in New Delhi yesterday on charges of attempting to extort Rs100 crore from Jindal's company in exchange for not airing news reports of his firm's alleged involvement in the coal blocks allocation scandal.

"Our executives' arrest is illegal. We strongly condemn arrests of our two executives," Zee News chief executive officer (CEO) Alok Agarwal told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi.

He leveled allegations of Jindal offering money to Zee journalists.

"Our channel raised fundamental questions about coal blocks allocated to the Jindal group. Jindal's mother pleaded with us to play down the coalgate," he said.
He alleged that police were pressured to pursue the matter against the channel and make illegal arrests.

Jindal last month released a CD which purportedly showed Zee journalists trying to settle a deal with his company officials, telling them the channel would not air negative stories on Jindal Group if they were paid the money.