Journalist Vinod Verma walks out of jail

Arrested for carrying a pornographic video of a minister, attempting to blackmail him

Nagpur: A special CBI court in Raipur on Thursday granted bail to senior journalist Vinod Verma, who was arrested in October for allegedly carrying a pornographic video of a Chhattisgarh minister and attempting to blackmail him. Mr. Verma, who had spent the last two months in Raipur Central Jail, walked out in the evening.

“We had moved a fresh bail application on Wednesday. The court heard the arguments of both the parties on Thursday. We told the court that under Section 167(2) of the CrPC, he has a right to get bail. Special judge Shantanu Dashlahre granted a conditional bail to my client,” Mr. Verma’s lawyer Faisal Rizvi told The Hindu.

Mr. Verma’s lawyers had moved a fresh bail application as the Chhattisgarh police and the CBI had failed to file the charge sheet within 60 days.

The Chhattisgarh police had arrested Mr. Verma in his Ghaziabad residence on October 27, and claimed to have seized 1,000 CDs of the minister’s sex video.

The Judicial Magistrate First Class and a sessions court in Raipur had earlier rejected his bail.

Senior Congress leaders, including Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel, were present outside the jail to receive Mr. Verma.

“I was working on the Jiram case [Maoist attack on a Congress convoy] and the Antagarh case [fixing of bypoll],” the journalist told reporters at the jail gate. “I was working for the Congress as a consultant in my professional capacity and participated in its training camps. The uneasiness with those training camps was visible in the BJP. If the government has a problem with me for working with a party as a professional, this is surely not the way to deal with it. You can’t do journalism in Chhattisgarh.”

On the blackmailing charges, he said, “They should tell us one number [used for blackmailing]. They have all my mobile numbers and my home landline number.”

Mr. Baghel alleged that Mr. Verma’s arrest was an act of vendetta by the State government, and he was implicated because he was working with the Congress.

The special CBI court has asked Mr. Verma to submit his passport. “He has been asked to cooperate with the investigating agencies, and he also has to mark his attendance with the investigation officer on the first and fourth Monday of every month,” Mr. Rizvi said.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 11:55:35 AM |

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