The Zee – Jindal war continues as Zee owner Subhash Chandra is said to have filed a Rs 200 crore defamation suit against a NGO and Focus News at the Bombay High Court. Crying foul and witch-hunting for a Naveen Jindal link in sensational allegations made against Chandra family owned firm Essel Infrastructure Projects, the company has sought damages from the NGO and Focus News. Interestingly, former Union Minister Matang Sinh is also named as a defendant in the case in capacity of Chairman of the news channel, rumored to have been funded by Naveen Jindal.
The basis of arriving at the figure of Rs. 200 crore damages is not clear yet. Though it is said that a small time NGO from Bhopal conducted a press conference at Delhi to expose a Corporate – Media – Political nexus days before the General Election results. In the presser, the NGO accused Subhash Chandra firm for flouting the conditions under which 50 acres of land was given to them at subsidized rates in 2006. The NGO claimed that there has been no progress whatsoever on the project between 2006 to 2014 and demanded that the land be taken back from the firm. Documents exhibited on the website of Jan Adhikar Manch make allegations on Subhash Chandra’s firms seeking government investigation into the allegations.
A source from legal fraternity feels, “The onus to prove that Subhash Chandra owned firm suffered losses of Rs. 200 crore is on them. In general, small NGO’s are sitting ducks against large corporates and get pressurized when costly legal proceedings are initiated against them. Any court will examine the truth behind allegations before passing an order”. Another source points that Subhash Chandra’s own legal team has a fractured view on the merits of the suit filed by them. “Its personal. If Naveen Jindal is behind the calculated attack, so has Subhash Chandra been attacking Jindal Empire? Let one court decide all allegations and counter-allegations without making mockery of the system”.
The excerpts of the plaint viewed by the blogger show that the grounds of the case itself are weak and may have been thrown out if it was not the might of a media baron behind the filing. And linking Naveen Jindal directly to Focus News report or NGO is a mammoth task for Zee for the case to result in any favorable diktat for Subhash Chandra. If Chandra is able to solve the jigsaw connecting Jindal – Focus – NGO nexus, it will be a major victory for Zee camp. Initial indications from Zee camp reveals cluelessness about what transpired and how the dots connect with each other. That may be the reasons of a specialized firm to be given the task to solve the mystery, by hook or by crook.