The Press Club of India on Saturday said that it is “deeply concerned” by the arrest of independent journalist Rajinder Singh Taggar in an alleged extortion case.

On Friday, the Mohali Police arrested Taggar, who runs the web portal Punjab Dastavez, on charges of extortion, criminal conspiracy and wrongful restraint, reported The Indian Express.

The development came two days after a suspended assistant inspector general, Malvinder Singh Sidhu, was also arrested in the case that was registered in March.

After Taggar’s arrest, the Press Club of India stated the journalistic fraternity in Punjab has expressed apprehension that the move is aimed to silence his reportage of scams.

“The PCI managing committee expects the Punjab Government to eschew the temptation to misuse its power or go beyond the due process against journalists speaking truth to power,” said the Press Club. “We would urge the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which is already apprised of the matter, to monitor the developments closely so that the process is not deployed as punishment to stifle the freedom of the press to report freely, that is enshrined in Art 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.”

Earlier, the Chandigarh Press Club had condemned Taggar’s arrest.

“This amounts to censorship of the media and the Election Commission of India should look into this matter,” said Umesh Sharma, the secretary general of the club. “We also request the DGP Punjab Police to look into this matter and a fair investigation should be done in this issue.”