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Oct 27, 2012 at 02:38pm IST

Zee News sends Rs 150 crore defamation notice to Naveen Jindal

New Delhi: Zee News on Saturday sent a defamation notice of Rs 150 crore to Naveen Jindal accusing his press conference on a sting operation conducted by his company, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, on the TV channel, as an attempt to divert attention from demand for independent probe in the coal blocks allocations controversy.

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

Below is the full text of the notice.

Zee News sends a defamation notice of Rs 150 Cr to Jindal

- Zee News accuses Jindal's Press Conference as an attempt to divert attention from demand for independent probe in the Coalgate scam.

New Delhi, October 27, 2012: In a strong reply to Naveen Jindal and JSPL'S Press Conference on 25th October, 2012 where he had alleged wrongdoing on the part of Zee News, today Zee News Limited has sent a defamation notice to the tune of Rs 150 crore against Mr. Naveen Jindal and JSPL.

Zee News has condemned and completely rejected the doctored evidence produced by Jindal. Zee News sees this as a deliberate attempt to malign the trustworthy Television Network.

Zee News has granted a three day time period to Mr Naveen Jindal to withdraw all his unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations against Zee News, failing which Mr Jindal would face civil and criminal actions initiated by Zee News.

Zee News has always been the forerunner in exposing Naveen Jindal's double standard as a politician and industrialist in Coalgate scam. Zee News clearly understands that it is to suppress the coverage that Zee News was telecasting on Coalgate, that the Corporate Communications team from JSPL first tried to bribe Samir Ahluwalia with Rs 25 crore, which he declined straightway, and later was offered a Rs 100 crore Advertising deal to stop the coverage of Coalgate scam.

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.

Attempts by right thinking media houses including Zee News to bring out the truth in the Rs 1.86 lakh crore coalgate scam are being muzzled by Mr Naveen Jindal by distorting the truth and defaming those on the righteous path. Even, the CAG has listed Naveen Jindal promoted JSPL as the primary beneficiary in the coalgate scam.

We are of the view that similar false allegations have been made by Naveen Jindal and his officials against Zee News in a police complaint and we see it as subversion of the due process of law. Clearly, we see this as an attempt to prejudice and defame us and to overreach the investigation in this regard and have hence sent a defamation notice to JSPL and Mr Naveen Jindal.

Zee News is undeterred by such diversionary tactics adopted by Jindal and JSPL and would stay focused on unraveling the ultimate truth in the Rs 1.86 lakh crore coalgate scam and have only taken this route to counter the allegations made.

Jindal Steel responds

Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) was quick to issue a statement in response to Zee News' notice. It said:

"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."

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