Journalist accused of blackmailing BJP leader arrested (Third Lead)

Chhattisgarh police arrested journalist Vinod Verma from Indirapuram in the National capital region for allegedly trying to blackmail a minister with a sex CD

The Chhattisgarh police have arrested senior journalist Vinod Verma in Ghaziabad's Indirapuram in connection with the extortion case.

Verma claimed that he is "being framed because he has a sex CD of Rajesh Munat, the PWD minister in Chhattisgarh's Raman Singh-led BJP government".

The police claim they have seized hundreds of CDs, a laptop and a pen drive from Verma's home.

Vinod Verma is a member of the Editors' Guild of India, and is a veteran journalist who has worked with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hindi and held the post of Digital Editor with Amar Ujala.

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Raipur superintendent of police Sanjeev Shukla said the Chhattisgarh police have no information on the contents of the CDs, except that they were sleazy and "might harm the reputation of some high-profile person".

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

Accusing the BJP of name-calling, Maken said: "Sometimes a senior minister calls the journalists presstitutes, the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) calls the media "bazaru". He has been booked under sections 384 and 507 of the Indian penal code for extortion and intimidation after a complaint was filed by Prakash Bajaj, a Chhattisgarh BJP leader. When asked how the arrest happened in such a short time, the police said: "Our team was already present in Delhi to probe chain snatching case". The shop owner allegedly named Verma as the man who had commissioned the copies. "I am being framed", Verma said. In his complaint, Bajaj alleged that Verma tried for extortion, saying that a CD is in his possession and it would be circulated if he don't pay up.

Meanwhile, PCC President Bhupesh Baghel has condemned the arrest of journalist Verma describing it as the attack on freedom of the press.

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