Zee News blasts arrest of journalists, demands immediate release

Zee News today demanded the immediate release of two of its senior journalists who were arrested on Tuesday on a complaint of industrialist and Congress MP Naveen Jindal that they tried to extort Rs100 crore from his company, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, to suppress news that would implicate the company in the 'coalgate' scandal.

The police action is ''illegal'' and ''designed for something else,'' the broadcaster said.

Zee News chief executive officer Alok Agrawal accused the United Progressive Alliance government of ''intimidating'' the media and trying to cover up the coal block allocation scam.

Meanwhile the crime branch of the Delhi Police has issued a notice to Subhash Chandra, owner of Zee TV, in connection with the case.

Zee News group editor Sudhir Chaudhary and business head Samir Ahluwalia head were arrested on a complaint filed in October by Jindal's company that they had sought Rs100 crore worth of advertisement on the channel to suppress news.

Questioning the arrests and the timing, Agrawal and Zee lawyer R K Handoo said at a press conference that the detentions were deliberately made before a holiday so that regular bail could be denied.