India

After senior journalist, Chhattisgarh police books state Cong President too

After senior journalist, Chhattisgarh police books state Cong President too

After registering of FIR against senior journalist Vinod Verma over sex tape related allegations, Chhattisgarh police has gone ahead and booked the state Congress President Bhupesh Baghel on the same issue.

The move is said to be after Minister Rajesh Munat filed complaint in this regard. It need be mentioned that a senior journalist was arrested from his home near Delhi after being accused by a Chhattisgarh minister of blackmailing him.

Minister Rajesh Munat had filed the complaint against Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel after Mr Baghel said he possessed a copy of a sex CD purportedly featuring the minister. Mr Munat has called the CD “fake” and said it can be investigated by any agency.

Possession of the CD was why Vinod Verma, an independent journalist and a member of the Editors Guild of India, says he was arrested yesterday from his home in Ghaziabad by a police team that flew in from Raipur around 4 am.

The Chhattisgarh government has claimed Mr Verma was working with the opposition Congress to discredit the BJP government. The journalist, it says, is related to state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel. Mr Baghel has denied it.

“This is an attack on democracy and we condemn this. They are targeting a journalist to protect their minister,” the Congress leader said yesterday on Mr Verma’s arrest.

The police, that caught the last flight out of Raipur yesterday to land in Delhi and arrest Mr Verma, claim they have seized hundreds of CDs, a laptop and a pen drive from Mr Verma’s home. They say he “intended” to distribute objectionable CDs, refusing to disclose the contents to the media.

“I have a sex CD of a Chhattisgarh Minister, he is Rajesh Munat and that is why the Chhattisgarh government is not happy with me,” Mr Verma told reporters while being taken to court after hours of questioning. The court had granted the police three days custody of Mr Verma and allowed him to be taken to Raipur.

A freelance journalist, Mr Verma has been Digital Editor at Amar Ujala and has also worked with the BBC Hindi service.

He was part of a fact-finding team of the Editors Guild that travelled to Chhattisgarh last year to examine cases of intimidation of journalists.

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