Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary, arrested on an extortion complaint filed by Congress MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal but now granted bail, Friday filed a defamation suit against Jindal for "falsely implicating" him in the FIR and making a false statement in a press conference.
After a brief hearing, a Delhi court hearing the complaint listed the matter for Jan 3 for taking cognisance of the complaint.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja said: "Fresh written complaint filed under section 200 CrPC alleging commission of offence under section 499 (defamation) of IPC. Arguments on the point of taking cognisance have been heard. Put up for orders on taking cognisance and if required, further proceeding on Jan 3, 2013."
Chaudhary, in his complaint, said Jindal made a false statement in the FIR lodged against him Oct 2 by alleging that he carried out a fake sting operation while he was the CEO of Live India.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Chaudhary, sought a date for pre-summoning evidence saying that the averment in the FIR was false as no charge sheet was filed against his client in that matter.
Aggarwal also pleaded that Jindal in a press conference held Oct 25 made a false statement which tarnished his client's image.
"The complainant (Chaudhary) is falsely implicated in the FIR... police station Crime branch and a defamation suit was also filed by M/s Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. against M/s Zee News Ltd. in which the complainant is also arrayed as one of the defendant," Chaudhary said in the complaint.
Chaudhary was arrested with Samir Ahluwalia, Zee News business editor, for their alleged role in attempting to extort Rs.100 crore from Jindal's company in exchange for not filing news reports linking his firm to the coal blocks allocation. Both were granted bail by a Delhi court Dec 17.
Choudhary was also removed from the post of the treasurer of the Broadcast Editors Association after the matter came into the limelight.
Police booked both the editors under Sections 384 (extortion), 120(b) (criminal conspiracy) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Before arresting Chaudhary and Ahluwalia, police also charged them under Section 420 (cheating).
Jindal had released a CD which purportedly showed footage in which the Zee editors were trying to strike a deal with his company officials, telling them that their TV news channel would not air negative stories on Jindal Group if the money was paid to them.
Jindal, who is chairman of Jindal Power and Steel Ltd, (JPSL), had earlier claimed that the Zee executives had demanded Rs.20 crore for four years and they secretly filmed the meetings. They later raised the demand to Rs.100 crore for not broadcasting stories against the company in relation to the allocation of coal blocks, Jindal alleged.
JPSL is among the companies named in the Comptroller and Auditor General's report as one of the beneficiaries of the controversial coal blocks allocation.
Zee News had also sent a Rs.150 crore defamation notice to the Congress MP, who too had filed a Rs.200 crore suit against the media conglomerate, claiming that the TV channel had tried to extort money from his company