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Court to pronounce order on Zee editors' plea tomorrow

Updated: January 4, 2013, 8:14 PM IST
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Court to pronounce order on Zee editors' plea tomorrow
The editors on December 12, 2012 while refusing to undergo lie detector test had agreed to undergo the voice sample test.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday will give its order on two Zee editors' plea to stop police from taking their voice samples with two of them being made to read from the transcripts of an audio clip recorded in a sting done by the officials of Congress MP Naveen Jindal's firm.

The sting was purportedly done to prove their alleged roles in the case of Rs 100 crore extortion bid. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Mukesh Kumar on Friday decided to deliver his verdict tomorrow on the pleas of Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business Editor Samir Ahluwalia.

The editors in their pleas had said the audio video clip which is the subject matter of probe is in possession of the Crime Branch of the Delhi police and they cannot be asked to read out its transcript.

Opposing their plea, Special Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan had said the two editors were summoned on December 21, 2012 by police to record their voice samples, but they refused to do so on their counsel's advice.

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

He said if an accused is asked to give a handwriting sample and the matter which he writes contain inculpatory statements, then the same would be hit by Article 20(3) of the Constitution, as then he would be witness against himself.

"This is with regard to handwriting samples. The present case concerns the voice samples. There is no specific provision under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 to deal with the taking of voice sample," he said.

The counsel for the two Zee editor had argued that the court may permit taking of voice samples only for purpose of identification. "But these samples would not be admissible if they contain inculpatory statements," he had added.

The editors on December 12, 2012 while refusing to undergo lie detector test had agreed to undergo the voice sample test. Public Prosecutor Mohan had said they were trying to take the voice samples related to the same incident as it would be easy to establish their alleged involvement in the crime.

The two editors have sought court's direction to police to provide such a reading material for taking voice sample that it does not contain any inculpatory statement.

Chaudhary and Ahluwalia 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 on granted bail on December 17, 2012 by the court. 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.

First Published: January 4, 2013, 8:14 PM IST
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