Police arrests Indian journalist over extortion charges

Senior Journalist Vinod Verma who is also a member of Editors Guild of India has worked as Digital Editor at Amar Ujala and was also associated with the BBC

Congress leader Ajay Maken in a press conference on Friday said, "The media is one of the strongest pillars of India's democracy and the Narendra Modi government wants to strangulate it".

Verma, a freelance journalist, has been Digital Editor at Amar Ujala and has worked with the BBC Hindi service in the past, as per sources.

Maken said PM Modi has called media, "Bazaru" and its BJP's habit to malign and pressurize the press.

Ghaziabad: The Chhattisgarh Police on Friday arrested senior journalist Vinod Verma from his residence in Ghaziabad near Delhi on charges of extortion and blackmailing. He will be presented before a Chhattisgarh court by the police.

"The government of Chhattisgarh is not happy with me. Clearly, I am being framed", Verma told fellow journalists as he was being taken away by a team of Chhattisgarh Police.

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The Head of The Police Rahul Srivastava DGP office in Lucknow, said that a case under sections 384 and 506 of the IPC had registered on Verma in Pandri police station of Raipur district, news agency IANS reported. BJP spokesperson in Chhattisgarh Shrichand Sundarni refuted claims about the alleged sex CD.

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". However, BJP circles claim that Vinod Verma is a close relative of the state Congress Chief Bhupesh Baghel.

"We demand that the journalist (Verma) should be released immediately and a judicial probe be initiated against the (Chhattisgarh) minister". The shop owner named Vinod Verma as the person who had asked him to make the copies. Investigators later recovered around 500 CDs and a pen drive from Verma, and arrested him.

Verma, charged with extortion and blackmailing, has said he was being framed.

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