Families, friends of Zee Editors hold march, demand release of duo

New Delhi: Families and friends of arrested Zee editors Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary held a candle light march at Jantar Mantar today, demanding the immediate release of the two journalists.

Sagar Ahluwalia, father of Sameer Ahluwalia said, "The investigation is one sided. It it tilted in favour of Naveen Jindal. The arrests and prolonged detention of Sudhir and Sameer was not required. They should be immediately released and probe should continue."

Family members of the accused shouted "We want free press" and said that the police deliberately invoked Section 384 (when a person allegedly commits extortion) when it could have registered a case under section 385 (attempt of extortion) as the complaint made by Jindal Steel Private Limited (JSPL) was that an attempt of extortion was made by the journalists.

They said that the JSPL had offered the two a bribe of Rs 25 crore to stop coverage of the Coalgate issue.

"It is a fact that they went to meet the company's representatives because they wanted to record the facts of the case that this was indeed a bribe and not a generic and legitimate advertisement contract,' said a statement released family and friends of Chaudhary and Ahluwalia.

 Families, friends of Zee Editors hold march, demand release of duo

(L to R) Sudhir Chaudhary's wife Neeti Chaudhary, Samir Ahluwalia's wife Rosy Ahluwalia and his parents at the peace march at Jantar Mantar, Delhi. Firstpost

They added that by making false allegations on the journalists, the Jindal group has successfully shifted the limelight away from wrongdoing it was involved in. "While our husbands have been in jail, all reporting on the Coalgate scam has been completely silenced in a single, masterful stroke by a powerful private company."

Around 100 people including Zee staff, family members and friends of arrested journalists marched at Jantar Mantar for around one hour. Journalists from other news channels and publications could not be seen participating in the protest though.

The two journalists were arrested on 27 November on the complaint filed by JSPL saying that the two demanded Rs 100 crore for not airing stories indicating that the corporate house was one of the beneficiaries of coal block scam.

A trial court has rejected their bail plea twice. The duo have moved the Delhi High Court for bail. The hearing is expected to take place on Friday.

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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2012 20:19:11 IST