Zee Group promoter Subhash Chandra has said he supported Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial bid in response to the UPA government’s “unjust act” of lodging a criminal case against him and his company for allegedly seeking bribe from Congress MP Naveen Jindal’s steel firm.
In his autobiography ‘The Z factor; My journey as the wrong man at the right time’, which was today released by Prime Minister Modi, Chandra also claimed the FIR was registered because it had the “blessings” of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her deputy and son Rahul Gandhi.
“This was an unjust act by the UPA. In response, I personally supported Narendra Modi’s campaign for prime ministership,” he writes in the book published by Harper Collins.
A case was registered against him and senior journalists of his group in 2012 on the complaint of Jindal’s firm that Zee News was trying to “extort” Rs 100 crore from it in lieu of stopping its unfavourable coverage against the company, which was allegedly favoured by the UPA government in coal block allocation.
Zee group had denied the charge and insisted that it was doing a sting to record the firm’s attempts to bribe it.
“I am not sure why the Congress supported Naveen on this issue. Did Naveen donate a large sum running into thousands of crores to Congress? I don’t have the answers.
“I was equally disappointed with the media houses. All of them turned against me. Instead of seeing the case against Zee as an attack on media, other publications treated this as an exception. The fight between Naveen and me was not a personal fight. It was a fight between a corrupt system and media company,” Chandra writes.
“As I have said publicly, I have reason to believe that this FIR was registered in the capital of India against a respected media house because it had the blessings of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi… When a friend of mine spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the latter regretted his inability to help, though he was sympathetic towards us,” he also writes.
Releasing the book at his residence, Modi described Chandra as a person “who always cared for the weaker sections of society” as he referred to over 52,000 ‘Ekal Vidyalaya’ run by Chandra’s group. He also recounted anecdotes about his earlier interactions with the media mogul.
In his speech interspersed with several lighter-hearted remarks, Modi said writing biography was a “risky” affair but taking risk was in Chandra’s nature.
Union ministers Manohar Parrikar, Suresh Prabhu and Mahesh Sharma, senior Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav were present on the occasion and many of them spoke about their association with Chandra.
Many media personalities, including Aroon Purie of India Today and Rajat Sharma of India TV, were also there besides actor Akshay Kumar and Anupam Kher.