A freelance journalist, Verma, who formerly worked with Amar Ujala and BBC Hindi, was arrested by Chhattisgarh Police around 4 am from his home near Delhi for allegedly trying to blackmail a Chhattisgarh minister with a sex CD.
Verma was arrested by a joint police team from his residence in Indirapuram area of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
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. Congress president of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Vaghel, has denied all the charges.
Sources in the police said little is known about Bajaj; nor was much information available about the conversations he allegedly he had with an unknown caller - from a landline - threatening him with a purported sex tape involving his mentor, a senior minister in the BJP government of Chhattisgarh.
The police claim they have seized hundreds of CDs, a laptop and a pen drive from Mr Verma's home.
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"We know that despite knowing that it was a sex tape, he (Vinod Verma) got 500-1000 copies of it made". Police arrested Verma after they received a complaint from Prakash Bajaj, who is believed to be a close aide of a Chhattisgarh minister and also a member of Chhattisgarh BJP's IT cell.
Raipur DSP Shukla added that Verma has been booked under sections 384 and 507 of the Indian penal code (IPC) for extortion and intimidation. We all know how journalists have been targeted in Chhattisgarh by people of power in the past. "Our role was limited", Dubey told IANS.
He will be produced in court at 12 pm today.
If a member of the Editors Guild of India was being arrested in this manner "for investigating serious allegations against a minister", how would the junior-level journalists work without fear, he asked.