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Police question Zee chairman Chandra, son for second day


New Delhi, Dec 9: Zee Group chairman Subhash Chandra and his son Puneet Goenka were questioned for the second day today in connection with the alleged Rs 100 crore extortion bid from Congress MP Naveen Jindal's company.

After nine-and-half hour questioning and confronting them with two arrested Zee editors, police asked the father and son duo to appear before investigations this afternoon.

Both Chandra and Puneet came to Crime Branch office at around 1.30 PM today. Yesterday, the questioning had lasted till 11.30 p.m.

Zee Editors Sudhir Chaudhury and Samir Ahluwalia, who had been remanded to two-day police custody by a court today, were brought to the Crime Branch office last night where Chandra and his son were being questioned.

Chandra had secured an interim protection from arrest till Dec 14 from a Delhi court. In a late night statement yesterday, Zee Group said both Chandra and Puneet extended fullest cooperation to the Delhi Police so that truth emerges.

"We expect justice and a fair inquiry. The fullest cooperation ended attempted mis-impressions that Mr Chandra and Goenka were avoiding joining the investigations," it said.

"Now that Chandra and Goenka have joined the investigations, police have no ground to oppose the bail of the two editors," Zee News Ltd's counsel Vijay Aggarwal said.

During questioning yesterday, sources said Chandra and Puneet denied the allegations and claimed it was an attempt to scuttle news reports on the Coalgate scam.

The sources said Chandra was asked whether Alhuwalia had telephoned him and informed him about the discussions with Jindal's company.

Police had claimed to have phone call records to show that Alhluwalia had spoken to Chandra for nearly three minutes explaining the discussions.

Chandra's questioning came after police sent three notices asking him to join the investigations in the case in which Chaudhury and Ahluwalia were arrested late last month following investigations into a complaint filed on Oct 2.

Chandra had earlier told the police that he could not appear before them as he was out of the country, but later on Dec 3 he informed them he will be ready to appear within 96 hours of notice.

Police then asked him to appear before them yesterday. Investigators have told a local court earlier that they were treating Chandra as an accused as he knew about the dealings between his employees and Jindal's company.

Zee Group has denied the allegations of extortion and demanded the immediate release of its two senior journalists, alleging the police action was "illegal" and "designed for something else".


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