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Zee Entertainment Limited's board on Thursday issued a strong condemnation against the allegations made by certain proxy advisory firms against its former Non-Executive Directors, Ashok Kurien and Manish Chokhani, who quit on Monday, a day before the annual general meeting of the company. 

In a statement, Zee said, “As disclosed by the Company to the stock exchanges, the above directors decided to step down from the Board due to their personal reasons and to pursue their interests beyond the confines of a boardroom." 

“Speculations disparaging the contribution of the two directors are baseless and arise out of inadequate understanding of the industry. The decisions taken by board committee members and the entire board are being wrongly attributed to individual directors without any basis," the company further said in a statement.

Zee's statement comes in the backdrop of two investment firms – Invesco Developing Markets Fund (formerly Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund) and OFI Global China Fund LLC, which together account for 17.88 per cent of the paid-up share capital of ZEEL – seeking the removal of Chokhani and Kurien. 

Invesco had also sought the removal of the current Managing Director Punit Goenka from the board of the company.

Refuting to the allegations, Zee said it is immensely grateful to both Kurien and Chokhani for their contribution towards the company. "Their guidance to the leadership team has been valuable, enabling Zee to touch newer heights and deliver greater value to all its stakeholders year on year. Under their collective direction, the company has consistently undertaken several initiatives to bring in more transparency to the shareholders." 

R. Gopalan, Chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. said," The Board of ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. unanimously applauds Ashok Kurien and Manish Chokhani, commending their professional conduct during their association with the Company. It has been our privilege to have such esteemed members as part of the Board, and their contributions towards the Company remain significant," adding, "On behalf of the entire ZEE family, I would like to thank Mr. Kurien and Mr. Chokhani for their guidance and support, and we wish them success in every future endeavour."

Kurien partnered with Subhash Chandra to set up Zee, while Chokhani is director of investment firm Enam Holdings.

Earlier, in a separate filing, ZEEL also informed that both independent board members Chokhani and Kurien had resigned from the board on Monday evening.

The investment firms had also sought the appointment of six of its own nominees on the board of the company - Surendra Singh Sirohi, Naina Krishna Murthy, Rohan Dhamija, Aruna Sharma, Srinivasa Rao Addepalli, and Gaurav Mehta.

Shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited on Tuesday zoomed 40 per cent after two investment firms sought the removal of the current Managing Director Punit Goenka from the board of the company.

In frenzied buying, the stock jumped 39.99 per cent to close at 261.50 on the BSE. During the day, it zoomed 44.99 per cent to its 52-week high of 270.85.

Meanwhile, on 6 September, Dish TV informed the stock exchanges that Yes Bank, which owns a 25.63% stake, had asked the company to replace five directors on its board including the managing director Jawahar Goel, the younger brother of Essel group chairman and founder Subhash Chandra.


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