The Chhattisgarh police on Friday, October 27, arrested senior journalist Vinod Verma, from Indirapuram in Ghaziabad at around 3 am for allegedly blackmailing a Chhattisgarh minister. 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.
While the arrest raised quite a few questions, the Chhattisgarh police addressed the media hours after the arrest and said that Verma had a CD containing explicit content, and he had made about 100 copies of the same. The police also said that they "seized around 500 CDs from his residence, along with a laptop, pen drive and some cash," reported ABP Live.
While it is suspected that Verma had been blackmailing the minister with the same CD, the police said that they hadn't examined the contents yet. 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."
Verma too spoke about his arrest later and said that he was being framed. "I have been arrested because I had a sex CD of a Chhattisgarh Minister. I am being framed."
Meanwhile, the arrest has now kicked up a storm between Chhattisgarh units of the BJP and the Congress. Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh state Congress president, slammed the journalist's arrest and accused the BJP of siding with its member.
"The alleged sex scandal involving a sitting state minister surfaced last week. I also have the CD, but it was not released since we are examining the forensic credibility of the CD. The journalist was arrested for the possession of the same CD. Possessing a CD is not a crime. Verma has not circulated the CD in form. His arrest shows the BJP government is trying to snuff out the issue," HT quoted Baghel as saying.
The BJP then refuted the reports of the CD and said that the party was prepared for any probe.
Verma, who currently works as a freelance journalist, is a member of the Editors Guild of India and has worked with brands such as BBC and Amar Ujala before. He is said to have called the BJP leader and demanded money to keep the CD private.