Former BBC Journalist Vinod Verma was arrested by the Chhattisgarh police from his Ghaziabad residence early Friday morning on the charge of him blackmailing a Chhattisgarh Minister with a sex CD, on October 27, 2017 in Ghaziabad,India. Journalist Vinod Verma was taken to the Indirapuram police station in Ghaziabad for completing the formalities.(Photo:IC)
Police in India's central state of Chhattisgarh have filed case against Congress party chief Bhupesh Baghel over a complaint by the local minister Rajesh Munat, officials said Saturday.
The case is related to arrest of a senior journalist from his home in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on early Friday. Police said Vinod Verma, the freelance journalist, was arrested on charges of extortion, after the minister filed a complaint against him saying he was blackmailing him to extort money.
Reports said police seized over 500 CDs from Verma's house.
Baghel said he possessed a copy of a sex CD purportedly featuring the minister.
"We have registered case against Bhupesh Baghel under IT Act on the complaint filed by minister," a police official said.
Munat has called the CD "fake" and said it can be investigated by any agency.
The Chhattisgarh government has claimed Verma was working with Baghel to discredit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, a claim strongly contested by Baghel and Congress party.
"This is an attack on democracy and we condemn this. They are targeting a journalist to protect their minister," Baghel on Friday told media after Verma's arrest.
Verma was previously working with BBC Hindi service and Hindi daily Amar Ujala.
Verma, who is a member of the Editors Guild of India was part of a fact-finding team of the Editors Guild that travelled to Chhattisgarh last year to examine cases of intimidation of journalists in the state.
The arrest of journalist has evoked condemnation and outrage from fellow journalists.