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Journalist Vinod Verma appointed Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel’s political advisor

Considered as a close aid to Baghel, Verma was arrested from his home in Ghaziabad last year on charges of extortion after allegedly possessing and circulating a sleaze CD purportedly featuring a Chhattisgarh PWD minister.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 20, 2018 10:11:04 pm
Senior journalist Vinod Verma was arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police early Friday morning from his Ghaziabad residence in Uttar Pradesh over allegations of extortion. (Source: Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Former journalist and member of Editors Guild Vinod Verma Thursday was appointed as the political advisor to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, while Ruchir Garg was appointed as his media advisor, ANI reported.

Considered as a close aid to Baghel, Verma was arrested from his home in Ghaziabad last year on charges of extortion on a complaint by BJP leader Prakash Bajaj, who alleged that he had received a phone call in which the caller threatened to release an explicit CD of his “aaka” (master) unless he paid money.

The video allegedly featured PWD minister Rajesh Munat. Verma was also accused of dissemination of these CDs, with the police claiming 1,000 copies were recovered from his home.

Lodged in Raipur Central Jail for two months, Verma was released on bail after the Chhattisgarh Police failed to produce a chargesheet in the mandatory 60 days.

In September this year, a special CBI court had sent CM Baghel, then Chhattisgarh Congress president, in judicial remand for 14 days for his involvement in allegedly circulating the fake pornographic CD of Munat. The non-bailable extortion case, however, found no mention in the CBI chargesheet.

Verma had told The Indian Express, “They put me in jail for two months, and said they had evidence – for something they haven’t even found enough to chargesheet. It is the entire basis of the case …even the other sections are bogus. I am considering legal action against Prakash Bajaj and (minister) Rajesh Munat. The prime accused, according to CBI is Kailash Murarka, who paid money to morph the CD – he is a BJP leader.”

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