Police seizures at Kannada news channel Power TV , that had recently aired a series of stories claiming to expose corruption by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s family members, has disrupted the broadcast of the channel from Monday night.
“The police seized the server of the channel, changed passwords of all Power TV social media accounts, essentially leaving us with no avenue to go live. For a news channel this is as good as shutting it down,” Rahman Hassan, Principal Editor, Power TV, told The Hindu. In a video message that has now gone viral, he alleged political vendetta by the Chief Minister, a charge that Mr. Yediyurappa has not responded to so far.
The channel’s Managing Director, Rakesh Shetty, who is absconding, has been booked for extortion and forgery over the stories and sting operation videos connected to the Chief Minister's family members.
A contractor, who the television channel alleged was being harassed to pay bribe by a member of the Chief Minister’s family, is the complainant against Mr. Shetty.
The seizures were part of the search and seizure operations by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) probing the case. They had a search warrant from the magistrate court, sources said.
“We co-operated with the investigation. Even when they wanted to seize the server, I requested them that they take the hard disc and not the entire server itself as that would disrupt the broadcast, but they seized it anyway,” Mr. Rahman Hassan said.
The Karnataka Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has written to the Chief Minister condemning the incident.