Former BBC journalist Vinod Verma was arrested from his home in Ghaziabad on Friday morning for allegedly using a sex CD to try to extort money from a Chhattisgarh minister. The police have registered a case against Verma at the Pandari police station in Raipur for extortion and criminal intimidation, ANI reported.
Verma claimed that the Chhattisgarh government was framing him because he had such a CD involving Minister Rajesh Munat.
A court in Ghaziabad on Friday granted Verma’s transit remand to the Chhattisgarh police. He will be presented before a court in Chhattisgarh on October 30.
The Raipur police said that a man named Prakash Bajaj filed the complaint on Thursday. Bajaj had claimed that he received several phone calls claiming that CDs with obscene material involving his “master” were made. The call was traced to Delhi, after which the person who was creating the CDs named Verma during interrogation. Bajaj is a working committee member of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Chhattisgarh, according to the Hindustan Times.
Verma told the police that he had received the video as an MMS from a source on Tuesday, and he was talking to four media houses about publishing it. He denied speaking to any political leader and so there was no question of extortion, he reportedly said.
He was questioned for several hours at the Indirapuram police station. Police said the contents of the CD violate Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, and an investigation was under way.
In 2016, Verma was part of a fact-finding team of the Editors Guild of India, which was investigating the arrests and threats faced by journalists in Chhattisgarh. Apart from BBC, Verma had also worked with the Hindi newspaper Amar Ujala, and is now a freelancer.