Sudhir Chaudhary, the editor and business head of Zee News who was granted bail Monday on the charge of trying to extort money from Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, has filed a defamation case against the Broadcast Editors’ Association.
A self-regulatory body comprising editors of several TV news channels, the BEA had set up a fact-finding committee to look into JSPL’s allegations against Chaudhary and his colleagues. Chaudhary was stripped of the post of treasurer and from primary membership of the BEA on October 18 after the committee apparently found him guilty of conduct that was “unbecoming of an editor”.
According to sources, in an application filed with the Delhi High Court late last month, Chaudhary said that the BEA’s actions caused him hurt and damaged his reputation. He has asked that the BEA’s decision to remove him from the body be declared invalid and has appealed to the court to pass an interim ex-parte order to stop the association from making any public statements against him till the case is resolved.
He has also asked the court to direct the BEA to withdraw the press release on his termination issued on October 18 and that it be removed from the association’s website. He has prayed to the court that after withdrawing the press release, the BEA be directed to issue a clarification on the statements made against him by it.
Chaudhary has named the BEA, its president (ABP News editor Shazi Zaman, not named in the application) and the three members of the fact-finding committee — N K Singh, Rahul Kanwal and Dibang — as the defendants. Singh and Dibang are veteran TV journalists and Kanwal is the managing editor of Headlines Today. The defendants have been asked to appear before the court on January 4, said sources.
Confirming the development, Zaman said: “The BEA stands by the steps it has taken and will give an appropriate response in the court of law.”