New Delhi: After spending 20 days in jail, two Zee group editors were granted bail by a Delhi court on Monday in the case of alleged Rs 100 crore extortion bid from Congress MP Naveen Jindal's firm.

"Bail is granted to both the accused," Additional Sessions Judge Raj Rani Mitra said allowing the plea of Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary and Zee Business Editor Samir Ahluwalia who were arrested by Delhi Police on November 27.

The court said both of them will be released on furnishing a bail bond and surety of Rs 50,000 each.

They were directed to surrender their passports and not leave the country without the permission of the court which also asked them to cooperate with the investigation.

The court on Saturday had reserved its order on the bail plea of the two editors after hearing them for around five hours during which the Delhi Police had opposed their application for grant of relief.

Both Chaudhary and Ahluwalia, who were lodged in Tihar jail, have been booked under section 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.

While granting bail to the editors, the court said they cannot be detained in jail for an indefinite period.

"In the case in hand, the applicant/accused has been in custody for about 20 days and the investigation is at initial stage.

"Keeping in view the totality of circumstances, the nature of offence and antecedents of the accused, they (editors) be admitted on bail on furnishing personal bond of the sum of Rs 50,000 each with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the metropolitan magistrate," the judge said.

"Article 21 (fundamental rights of protection of life and liberty) of the Constitution is violated if the undertrial prisoners are detained in jail custody to an indefinite period," court said.

During the period of 20 days in custody, the editors were confronted with Zee Group Chief Subhash Chandra and his son Punit Goenka, both of whom have got interim protection from arrest in the case till December 20.


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