Press Freedom

Former BBC journalist’s arrest: Congress accuses BJP of curbing press freedom

Party leader Ajay Maken demanded Vinod Verma’s immediate release and an inquiry against Chhattisgarh minister Rajesh Munat for allegedly making a sex CD.

The Congress on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of curbing press freedom, after the police arrested former BBC journalist Vinod Verma from his home in Ghaziabad, PTI reported. Verma was arrested for allegedly using a sex CD to try to extort money from Chhattisgarh minister Rajesh Munat.

“The Narendra Modi-led central government and the Chhattisgarh government have been attacking, squeezing press freedom,” Congress leader Ajay Maken said. “We strongly condemn Verma’s arrest and demand that he be released immediately, and a judicial inquiry into the allegations against the state minister be announced.”

After his arrest, Verma had claimed that the BJP government in Chhattisgarh was framing him because he had a sex CD involving Munat.

Maken said the journalist’s arrest should not be seen as a “one-off” incident. The Congress leader wondered whether a junior journalist would dare to do investigative stories after “the way Verma was picked up from his residence” merely for investigating allegations against a state minister.

Maken also demanded a judicial inquiry into allegations levelled by Patidar leader Narendra Patel that the BJP had bribed him with Rs 1 crore to join the party.

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