In a shocking development, the Chhattisgarh Police has arrested an ex-BBC journalist Vijay Verma in connection with an extortion case.
Police picked up Verma from his house at 3.30 a.m. and allegedly recovered about 500 copies of a CD that contains sexual material linked to Minister Munat.
Verma, a freelance journalist, has been Digital Editor at Amar Ujala and has worked with the BBC Hindi service in the past, as per sources.
An official Twitter handle of UP Police tweeted, "He's arrested by Chhattisgarh police in a case of extortion registered at P.S.Pandri, distt Raipur.(Cr no 340/17, U/S 384 506 IPC)". According to the police, he "intended" to distribute objectionable CDs, refusing to disclose the contents to the media.
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Verma was a part of a fact-finding team of the Editors Guild that travelled to Chhattisgarh previous year to examine cases of intimidation of journalists.
"Sex CD is fake, appeal to the CM to get this investigated from any agency". The fact-finding report that Verma co-wrote past year had concluded that journalists do not feel safe working in Maoist-hit Bastar and "there is a sense of fear". The shop owner allegedly named Mr Verma as the man who had commissioned the copies. A court granted three days of transit remand to the Chhattisgarh Police.
"We demand that the journalist (Verma) should be released immediately and a judicial probe be initiated against the (Chhattisgarh) minister". Chhattisgarh government has reportedly, claimed that Verma was working with Congress to malign BJP's image.
Nidheesh Tyagi, a journalist, former colleague and close friend of Vinod Verma said, "I can't believe the allegations that Vinod Verma was involved in extortion and blackmail". I also got the CD on the basis of which the arrest has been made.