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Zee row:Plea for lie detection quashed

New Delhi: Zee Group Chairman Subhash Chandra's plea for undergoing lie detector test on the advice of his doctors and in the presence of his lawyer was allowed by a Delhi court in a case of alleged Rs 100 crore extortion bid from Congress MP Navin Jindal's firm.

However, the court rejected the plea of Delhi Police to subject the two arrested Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business Editor Samir Ahluwalia for the polygraph test as they refused to give their consent.

Allowing the plea of Chandra, Metropolitan Magistrate Gaurav Rao said,"As far as accused, Subhash Chandra is concerned, he has consented for the test. I have gone through his statement.

"In terms of his statement as well as in terms of input provided by Dr Asha Srivastava, Senior Scientific Officer..., which have been made aware to the accused, the accused shall consult his doctor and thereafter undergo the test.

"The test shall be conducted... the accused shall have the right to take along with him his counsel."

Dismissing Delhi Police's plea for subjecting Chaudhary and Ahluwalia to a lie detector test, the court said, "In terms of the statement made by the accused, Samir and Sudhir wherein they have not consented to undergo the lie detector test...the application of IO is dismissed as the accused persons cannot be forced or compelled to undergo the same as it violates the right against self incrimination."

"Article 20 (3) of the constitution protects their right," it added.

A third bail application was moved by the two Zee editors in the Sessions court, which is likely to hear the matter on Friday.

Their two bail applications were earlier dismissed by the trial court on November 28 and December 3.

During the day's proceedings, Chandra had appeared before the court following its yesterday's direction and said, "I voluntarily give my consent for lie detector test to establish my innocence. However, I am 62-year-old and I am suffering from old age ailments.

"I need to consult my doctors in US/London before undergoing the test in question. I may also be informed of the exact nature of the test."

The special public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan has opposed his submissions saying the test is a non-invasive technique as nothing will be inserted inside the human body.

Mohan also said that Chandra can go for his test along with the doctor of his choice.

Both Chaudhary and Ahluwalia, who have been remanded to judicial custody till December 22, have been booked under sections 384 (extortion), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) of the IPC.

Regarding the giving of voice sample by two editors, the court said that as the two out of their own free will have consented to give the voice sample, "I find no reason to not to allow the application of Investigating Officer".

It also said that the voice sample so collected may or may not prove to be material piece of evidence or may be their admissibility is challenged in future, during further course of proceedings.

"Nonetheless to afford an opportunity to accused persons to come forward with their part of the story to establish their credentials as claimed by them it is in the interest of justice, to surface the truth that they be allowed to give their voice sample," the court said.

The court said the investigating agency shall move an appropriate application for the visit of the accused persons to the place where they "proposes to collect samples, clearly specifying the time, date and place".

The Crime Branch of Delhi Police had moved an application early this week for their consent soon after the two editors were confronted with their bosses Chandra and his son Punit Goenka, Managing Director of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., in connection with the case. Chandra and Punit had got interim protection till Friday.

The police had sought permission to subject them to a lie-detector test saying it is required to bring the truth on record.

The two editors are lodged in Tihar jail since their arrest on November 27.

(Agencies)

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