A Chhattisgarh court on Tuesday remanded journalist Vinod Verma, arrested in connection with a case of blackmailing and extortion, in judicial custody for 14 days. The Raipur police produced Verma before Judicial Magistrate First Class Bhavesh Kumar Watti at around 11 am in Raipur after his police remand expired on Tuesday, the journalist’s lawyer Faizal Rizvi told reporters.
According to the defence counsel, he pleaded in the court that the police does not have any evidence to prove the charges in the case, in which offences have been registered under IPC sections 384 (extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
The lawyer said he urged the court to release Verma citing lack of evidence. After the hearing, the court sent Verma in judicial remand and asked the police to produce him before it on November 13, he added.
Verma was arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police on October 27 from his residence in Ghaziabad. He claimed that the Chhattisgarh government suspected that he had a “sex CD of Chhattisgarh PWD Minister Rajesh Munat” and that is why he was being framed.
However, Munat called the CD “fake” and an attempt at character assassination.
The minister had on Saturday filed a complaint against state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel and Verma for allegedly tarnishing his image through the “fake” sex CD.
According to the Raipur police, a case of blackmailing and extortion was registered at the Pandri police station based on a complaint of Prakash Bajaj, who alleged that he “was being harassed on phone by an unidentified caller who told him that he had a CD of his master”.
After the investigation, the search team was sent to Delhi and Verma was held from Ghaziabad, police had said. The police also claimed to have recovered 500 “porn” CDs, a pen drive and a laptop from Verma.
The issue has sparked a political row in the state with the Congress and the BJP trading charges. The state government has recommended a CBI probe in the case.