Zee Editors Can't Refuse to Give Voice Samples: Court

New Delhi
Zee Editors Can't Refuse to Give Voice Samples: Court
A Delhi court today said the two Zee editors cannot "dictate terms" for giving their voice sample in the investigation into the Rs 100-crore extortion case against them lodged by officials of Congress MP Naveen Jindal's firm.

The court rejected their plea that the investigators be stopped from taking their voice samples by making them read the transcripts of an audio clip of a sting done by Jindal's firm.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Mukesh Kumar said if they are willing, then Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business Editor Samir Ahluwalia will have to give their voice sample as per the instruction of probe agency.

"Now it is open with accused (Sudhir and Samir) whether they want to give voice sample or not. If yes, then they have to give voice sample as per requirements of the investigating agency as well as per the scientific officer, who shall instruct the IO (investigating officer) as in what manner the voice sample of accused is to be collected for comparison," the judge said.

The court, in its order, said that the editors themselves agreed to give voice sample and they cannot be allowed to dictate the terms on the manner in which they will give their voice sample to the investigating agency.

"Even if they wish to take such a plea, then it would be considered that they wants to derail the trial and divert the direction of the investigation.(sic)"

"Any such attempt that accused is trying to dictate the terms to the investigating agency will amount to denial as accused is not willing to give their voice sample," the court said, adding they can not be allowed to dictate the terms.

The two editors had, on December 12, 2012, while refusing to undergo lie detector test, agreed to undergo the voice sample test.

Accordingly, the probe agency approached the two on December 21, 2012 to record their voice samples, but they refused to do so on their counsel's advice.

Appearing for the two scribes, their counsel had said the Delhi Police Crime Branch had tried to force them to give their voice sample while reading "incriminating lines" from the transcript.

Sudhir and Samir were arrested on November 27, 2012 on a complaint by Jindal's firm Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), which had alleged that they had demanded Rs 100 crore as an advertising deal for not airing negative news against the firm in connection with the coal block allocation scandal.

Both Chaudhary and Ahluwalia were later granted bail on December 17, 2012 by the court. Beside the two editors, Zee Group Chairman Subhash Chandra and his son has also been named in the FIR lodged against them by Jindal's firm. However, the two were not arrested in the case.

They have been booked under section 384 (extortion), 420 (cheating), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) of the IPC.

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