The video clips purportedly show Zee News editor and business head Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business editor and business head Samir Ahluwalia negotiating the deal with JSPL executives during three meetings reportedly held on October 13, 17 and 19. The Zee editors purportedly assure JSPL executives of “protection” against “negative” reports once the “arrangement” is finalised.
Speaking to reporters for the first time after his company filed an FIR with the Crime Branch of Delhi Police on October 2, Jindal accused the media group of extortion attempt and wilful defamation.
The original footage, reportedly comprising audio and video clips recorded by JSPL executives using spy cameras, was submitted with the FIR and sent for forensic verification by the police. The forensic reports have not come yet.
“The matter was under investigation, so we had decided not to speak to the media. But Zee has been misusing their platform and running one-sided negative reports against us and making all kinds of allegations...we, therefore, decided to present our side of the story and release this footage so that the people can make the right judgement,” said Jindal.
While the total recording reportedly runs into two-and-a-half hours, about 15 minutes of the footage was released today.
In this, JSPL executives are heard telling Chaudhary and Ahluwalia that Zee had earlier asked for Rs 5 crore per year for four years. “25 (crore) per year for four years.... ho sakta hai ki humare kehne sunane mein kuch idhar udhar ho gaya ho (there may have been a communication gap),” Ahluwalia is heard replying.
A JSPL executive then asks how they propose to undo the damage done to Jindal’s image. “...humne to apna aapko roadmap de diya ki ji hum yeh arrangement kar denge... aapne koi planning banai hai ki isko theek kaise karenge? (...we have given you our roadmap, that we will go ahead with this arrangement.... have you planned anything on how you will fix this?)” he asks.
“Sabse badi protection to yeh hoti hai ki iske baad koi negative nahin aayega... Second, phir ye hai ki phir sochenge ki kya kaise karna hai, kaun see cheez upar dalni hai, kaun see cheez neeche dalni hai (The biggest protection is that after this no negative report will be aired. Second, we will then decide on our future course of action),” Chaudhary purportedly replies.
“The logic which works is this...this module works...pay model...you are one of the clients, to channel bhi...management bhi...ye rakhta hai ki theek hai yaar, they are friends...uske baad ek association ban jaati hai...tab hota hai yeh sab...nahin to... (the channel and management accept you as a friend, an association is formed... then all this will be possible... otherwise...),” Chaudhary is heard saying.
The two Zee executives are also heard assuring JSPL officials that their “arrangement” will apply to all the channels owned by Zee Ltd as well as DNA, the English newspaper owned by one of the Essel Group companies.
Ahluwalia also alleges that a leading newspaper takes money for its front page stories. “...At least we are doing a proper transparent deal with you...at least we are not doing front page story which is paid,” he says.
Rubbishing Jindal’s allegations, Chaudhary and Ahluwalia said the footage released by him was “edited/ doctored”. “We see this as a deliberate attempt to malign and to defame us,” they said in a joint statement. “To suppress the coverage that Zee News was telecasting on coalgate, Corporate Communications team from JSPL first tried to bribe Samir Ahluwalia with Rs 25 cr, which he declined straightway...Undeterred, the JSPL team offered Zee News and Zee Business an advertising deal of Rs 100 crore to somehow stop the coverage on air,” said the statement.
Zee News also aired portions of Jindal’s press conference accompanied by a live discussion between Chaudhary and Ahluwalia in which the two editors trashed his statements.
Jindal, meanwhile, has decided to file a defamation case against Zee Group and has sought termination of the licences given to the two news channels.
The sequence of events according to Jindal:
Sept 7: Zee News started targeting JSPL in its reports on the coal block row.
Sept 10: A JSPL executive met Zee Business editor and business head Sameer Ahluwalia to respond to the allegations. Ahluwalia allegedly asked for an advertising deal of Rs 20 crore for four years.
Sept 11: A Zee team interviewed Naveen Jindal but did not air it
Sept 13, 17, 19: JSPL executives met the two Zee editors, in which the latter reportedly demanded Rs 100 crore spread four years.
Sept 13-20: Zee stopped negative reports while the negotiations were on.
Sept 24: Zee resumed negative reports after JSPL didn’t sign the deal.
jindal`s allegation may be true as he is not only a businessman but a respected social activist and politician.A trend is emerging in electronic media to raise TRP and income and there is possibilities that Zee may have tried to enhance its revenue.Let the Court find out the truth but Zee has lowered its image in the eyes of ordinary citizen.
Let us face it. There has to be truth in what Zee has reported because their allegations would certainly be probed and if proved false then they will certainly have to close shop after paying compensation to Jindal. What Jindal is now doing is only what is expected of any one accused of misdemeanor/criminal activities. Let us see how the script develops. For the time being i would believe Zee rather than Jindal.
Out of 100 millions Adult Population it is Understood that Zee had been asking for an ad for its TV ,Chanel so wat is wrong in it, As regard Coal Blocks in Scam it is understood that their Report against Jindal Steel was not convincing so they wanted to drop it .
Jindal Steel and Power Limited Chairman Naveen Jindal has at last opened his mouth . really a serious allegation on Zee Group by Naveen Jindal which has put the Indian masses in Dilemma in regard to the Transparent functioning of the Fourth Pillar of Democracy .Really it will be unfortunate if the levied charges are found positive after an inquiry . The need of time is to review the Indian Media policy and on the issue of Advertisements and Paid News Policies be reviewed and Tranparency in working and functioning of the Media be made in future .