Journalist accused of blackmailing BJP leader arrested
Ghaziabad: A senior journalist, Vinod Verma, was arrested here early on Friday on charges of extortion after claiming to have a "sex CD" of a BJP leader in Chhattisgarh. A court granted three days of transit remand to the Chhattisgarh Police.
Verma, who claimed he had "a sex CD" of a Chhattisgarh minister but denied charges of blackmail, was picked up from his house early in the morning by a team of Chhattisgarh Police along with Uttar Pradesh Police.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Archana granted the transit remand, rejecting the plea of defence lawyer Rakesh Tyagi who argued that the charges hurled at Verma could lead to three years jail term.
Tyagi said Verma was being framed as he was in-charge of the Congress social media cell in Chhattisgarh.
But the Chhattisgarh Police lawyer argued that since the case was registered in Chhattisgarh, the accused had to be produced before a competent court in that state.
As he was led away from his Indirapuram residence here, Verma said he the BJP government in Chhattisgarh was not happy with him because he possessed the "sex CD" of a state minister.
The Chhattisgarh Police raided the journalist's residence with the Uttar Pradesh Police and recovered 500 compact discs (CDs), a laptop, a pen drive and Rs 200,000 in cash, a police officer here said.
Chhattisgarh Inspector General of Police Pradip Gupta and Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Shukla said Raipur resident and BJP leader Prakash Bajaj filed a complaint alleging Verma was trying to extort money from him.
Bajaj told police that he ignored the initial calls to cough up money. But on Wednesday, Verma threatened to release the "sex tape" in Raipur and Delhi if he did not pay up.
The officers said they then directed a Chhattisgarh Police team which was in Delhi on a different issue to proceed to Ghaziabad and arrest Verma.
Inspector Sushil Dubey here said the Chhattisgarh Police reached the police station "and sought our help to arrest the journalist.
"They told us that a case under sections 384 and 506 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) was registered against the journalist on the complaint of Prakash Bajaj, a BJP leader in Raipur district," Dubey said.
"We assisted the (Chhattisgarh) Police. Our role was limited," Dubey said.
Verma, charged with extortion and blackmailing, has said he was being framed.
Before being taken to the Ghaziabad district court, the journalist was interrogated for hours at the Indirapuram Police Station.
Verma, who is currently working with a leading Hindi newspaper, had also worked with BBC for several years.