BJP under attack over journalist's arrest
Chhattisgarh's ruling BJP came under attack on Friday after the arrest of a senior journalist in Ghaziabad who claimed he had a "sex tape" involving PWD Minister Rajesh Munat. The minister insisted he was innocent.
The pre-dawn police raid at the residence of Vinod Verma, now the media face of Chhattisgarh Congress President Bhupesh Baghel, and his arrest has charged up the political atmosphere in this state which goes to polls next year.
Police picked up Verma from his house at 3.30 a.m. and allegedly recovered about 500 copies of a CD that contains sexual material linked to Minister Munat.
Stung by the episode, the Minister held a press conference along with other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and termed the CD "tampered and morphed" and urged Chief Minister Raman Singh to order a thorough probe.
"I am in politics for roughly 34 years and never thought I would ever witness such allegation which shows to what extent the level of politics has fallen," said an unfazed Munat.
Munat is considered close to Raman Singh and the CD issue has pushed the BJP on the back foot.
Chhattisgarh has a track record of CD scandals against top leaders across the parties. This time the alleged CD scam hit the state too early as the state is expected to face polls in November 2018.
Armed with CD issue, Baghel slammed Chhattisgarh Police for "acting too fast" against the journalist who was not even named in the FIR filed in the matter at Raipur's Pandri police station on October 26.
The police have got transit remand of Verma from a court in Ghaziabad over allegations of blackmail and extortion.
The BJP went into a huddle on Friday evening in Raipur and sought opinion from legal experts on how to turn the heat back on Baghel.
Finally, Munat, accompanied by top party leaders, visited the Civil Lines police station and registered a fresh FIR directly naming Verma, a member of the Editors Guild of India.
The Congress slammed the arrest of Verma and demanded his immediate release and a probe against the Chhattisgarh minister being investigated by the journalist for alleged sex-related activities.
The Chhattisgarh Police, facing criticism for arresting the journalist without doing proper home work, sought to justify their action.
But the police officers looked confused to offer satisfactory reply when media persons demanded to know what was the need to arrest a journalist within 12 hours on the basis of an FIR in which he was not even named.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) tried to extract mileage on Friday. Its cadres stormed Munat's official residence near the police control room, threw black ink on his nameplate and raised slogans against the minister before being taken into police custody. - IANS