“Threatened to expose doctor after sting operation, demanded Rs.5 lakh from him”

Three media persons, including two employees of a reputed Hindi television news channel, have landed in the police net on allegations of having attempted to extort Rs.5 lakh from a Unani doctor after conducting a “sting operation” against him at Mandawali in East Delhi. The police had earlier booked two journalists in another extortion case.

The police received a complaint from Mahesh Kumar, a resident of Mandawali, alleging that some media persons who had filmed him prescribing allopathic medicine to his patients were demanding Rs.5 lakh for not airing the video clip. They had allegedly been issuing threats over the phone for the past few weeks.

At the instance of the police, the doctor agreed to pay up Rs.1.5 lakh in exchange for the clip stored in a pen drive. The suspects were asked to collect the money at a hospital in Mayur Vihar around 9-45 p.m. on Friday. “One of them named Saurabh Tripathi (21) was caught red-handed and the others, Himanshu Tiwari (29) and Sachin Mishra (33), were arrested at his instance,” said a police officer. The complainant identified Himanshu as the one who earlier visited his clinic to extort money from him.

During interrogation, the suspects purportedly confessed to having conspired to extort Rs.5 lakh from the doctor. Also, they allegedly made extortion calls to him through different mobile phones.

“Himanshu Tiwari, a journalism graduate from a Jabalpur university in Madhya Pradesh, is the main conspirator who had made the film for the purpose of extorting money from the doctor. He earlier worked with a news channel. Sachin Mishra has been working with India TV news channel as manager, information-technology, for the past three years. He also belongs to Madhya Pradesh. The third suspect, Saurabh, works as a system administrator with the same channel. The three were produced in a city court that sent them to judicial custody,” said the officer.

Puneet Tandon, General Manager-Administration and HR of India TV news channel, told The Hindu: “The main accused claiming to be the reporter in this case is not an employee of India TV, nor is he in anyway connected with us. The other two named in the FIR are not journalists and are not related to the editorial department. They work in our computer section. We have suspended them with immediate effect. We have instituted an internal inquiry to investigate the matter. There is certainly no place in the organisation for such people.”

In another case recently registered at the South Campus police station, the police have booked Bhumika Sharma, then a senior correspondent with India TV, and Pradeep Srivastav, a senior special correspondent of ABP News, for allegedly pressuring a car mechanic, Vijay Kumar (53), to give in to the demands of one Manu Sharma, who had allegedly been trying to extort Rs.20 lakh from him threatening to otherwise frame him in a rape case. Accused Manu runs a non-government organisation. Both the journalists have been suspended by their respective organisations.

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