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Jindal Vs Zee News case: Matter to be investigated holistically-Delhi HC

In the case between Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) V/s Senior Zee News Editors Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary, the Delhi High Court yesterday (September 19, 2017) has disposed off a writ petition and added that the matter shall be investigated holistically, in an unbiased, fair and thorough manner. 

The development follows after Ravi Muthreja, a material witness in the case, wrote a letter to the police, stating that various allegations made by him against Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary in the complaint and FIR were not true and correct and were made under the influence of Naveen Jindal, the then Congress MP. 

The prosecutor for the State conceded before the Court that the letter by Muthreja had been received and the same shall be fairly and thoroughly investigated. 

The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by Zee’s Sudhir Charudhary seeking reinvestigation of the FIR filed against him following Muthreja admitting that he had given incorrect statement. 

The matter was argued at length by advocates Aman Lekhi and Vijay Aggarwal, counsels for the petitioner, arguing that the entire matter hinges on the statement of Ravi Muthreja and that the other witnesses, who have been examined during investigation, are part of one composite whole and as the statement made by Muthreja has been stated to be made under influence, the said aspect of the matter ought to be investigated properly, in order to protect the right to fair investigation. 

The Court, in its order, took note of the arguments of the petitioner that a material witness in the matter has claimed to have given statement not out of his free will but under the influence of Naveen Jindal. The Court was of the view that the matter ought to be investigated holistically. 

The Court further said that in case, after investigation, the allegations made in the FIR are found to be false, then the same shall have serious repercussions on the case and criminal action for lodging a false case can be initiated against those who had lodged the FIR. 

It may be recalled that an FIR No. 240 of 2012 was registered at Police Station Crime Branch, District Crime and Railway, on the basis of a complaint filed by Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), whereby it was alleged that defamatory material was telecast on Zee News channel against JSPL and when JSPL officials approached and met Zee employees Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary, who demanded money in lieu of stopping the said telecast. In view of the same, the FIR alleging attempt to extortion was registered.

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