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TV editors expel Zee chief

New Delhi, Oct. 18: A body of electronic news channel editors today expelled Zee News editor and business head Sudhir Chaudhary from its membership on the charge of unethical professional conduct.

A Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) statement said it expelled Chaudhary after meeting and discussing a report by a three-member fact-finding committee. The panel had “probed issues of professional ethics emanating out of the allegations levelled by Jindal Steel and Power Limited”.

The company, headed by Congress MP Naveen Jindal, has alleged that Chaudhary asked it for money to stop carrying unfavourable stories on the company on Zee News.

Chaudhary was not present at the meeting that decided to expel him after a secret ballot. Zee News had not issued a statement till late tonight but sources in the Zee group said the company would stand by Chaudhary.

“Today’s was the toughest regulatory decision by the BEA and an effort to cleanse our own house,” said an editor who attended the meeting that took the decision.

Chaudhary was the treasurer of the association’s executive council, its apex body. The association, which seeks to ensure high journalistic standards, said his expulsion “had become imperative in the light of allegations made”.

Jindal’s company had filed an FIR with Delhi police on October 2, accusing Chaudhary and other Zee News employees of extortion. The channel’s news reports had focused on alleged irregularities in the allotment of captive coalmines and suggested that Jindal’s company had benefited from them.

According to BEA, the fact-finding committee had satisfied itself that all possible and credible sources of information had been heard and investigated and all available and relevant material perused.