The Chhattisgarh Police has arrested ex-BBC journalist Vijay Verma in connection with an alleged extortion case but the state Congress President Bhupesh Baghel has condemned the attack calling it an attack on the press.
In a shocking development, the Chhattisgarh Police has arrested an ex-BBC journalist Vijay Verma in connection with an extortion case. According to The Indian Express, the journalist was nabbed from his Ghaziabad residence this morning and taken to the Indirapuram Police Station for interrogation. It is alleged that he was in possession of a sex tape of a Chhattisgarh minister and was blackmailing him asking him to pay money otherwise he would make the tape public.
Notably, Vijay Verma was also a member of a fact-finding committee comprising three journalists that had been formed last year in March to look into the matter related to the arrest of journalists and threats faced by them in the Naxal-affected state. The committee had given its reports after investigation and its report said that the journalists were working under immense pressure in the state and a sense of fear prevailed among them. It also claimed about the phones of journalists being tapped.
Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Congress President Bhupesh Baghel, to whom Verma served as a consultant, has slammed the arrest of the journalist. He has demanded Verma’s release as well as an investigation into the alleged sex tape and extortion charges. He has termed the unceremoniously quick action of the state police an attack on freedom of media and also alleged that the state government was trying to protect its minister by arresting a journalist.
He further said that he had taken a look at the CD and if that was the basis of Verma’s arrest then it was condemnable, to say the least. In fact, he has found support from AAP spokesman Ashutosh, a former TV journalist, who also tweeted about the incident hinting at an attack on press freedom highlighting the mysterious manner in which the journalist was arrested.