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LexCounsel, Khaitan, Hariani, Bachubhai Munim duel in Zee-Jindal cross-defamation spat

LexCounsel with Hariani & Co and Bachubhai Munim & Co advised television news channel Zee News and its executives in its Rs 150 crore defamation cross-claim filed in the Bombay high court against congress MP and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) owner Naveen Jindal.

Jindal was advised by Khaitan & Co in his Rs 200 crore defamation suit filed in the high court on Thursday against the news channel.

LexCounsel partner Alishan Naqvee through advocate general Darius Khambata acted for Zee News which, according to Indian Express, refuted Jindal’s allegations and supporting video-footage produced by him that the channel’s editors and business heads Sudhir Chaudhary and Samir Ahluwalia had negotiated a Rs 100 crore advertising deal with JSPL officials for not airing negative reports against the company.

Khaitan & Co Delhi partner Sanjeev Kapoor and Mumbai partner Chakrapani Misra through senior advocate Rafiq Dada and advocate Zal Andhyarujina acted for Jindal who, according to Deccan Chronicle, had charged Zee News and Zee Business executives Subhash Chandra, Puneet Goenka, Sudhir Chaudhary, and Samir Ahluwalia with attempting to extort money from him for not airing stories against him on coal block allocation.

Bachubhai Munim & Co managing partner Jai Munim acted for Chaudhary and Ahluwalia.

Hariani & Co associate partner Amey Nabar acted for Chandra and Zee managing director Puneet Goenka.

According to Zee’s widely reported press release, JSPL allegedly contacted Zee’s editors to bribe them against airing unfavorable reports on Jindal’s involvement in the captive coal mines scam. In the release Zee said this was “a deliberate attempt to malign the trustworthy television network”, and it has “always been the forerunner in exposing Naveen Jindal’s double standards as a politician and industrialist in the coalgate scam”.

Jindal in turn released a statement alleging that news channels owned by Zee News unleashed a series of “mischievous, malafide, highly scandalous and defamatory” programmes against JSPL from September 7 “with a view to extort money from JSPL”, according to Express. He also sought a temporary injunction against Zee, from airing any news in the case pending further investigation.

Bombay high court justice SJ Kathawala on Monday adjourned the matter to today.

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