Days after Sanjha Lokswami, an Indore-based eveninger, carried stories and photographs of the honey trap case and uploaded at least one video and transcripts of audio conversations on its website, the Indore Police raided its office and other business establishments owned by editor Jitendra Soni.
Police teams raided Soni’s home, a hotel, a restaurant and a nightclub late on Friday and continued the searches for hours.
A few days ago, the eveninger published a story each on former BJP minister Laxmikant Sharma and on a powerful bureaucrat in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. In the past three days, it carried more stories, including one on honeytrap case complainant Harbhajan Singh. The publication also announced that it would continue with such articles, suggesting it was in possession of more videos of politicians and bureaucrats.
Based on Singh’s complaint in September, the Indore police had arrested five women and a man in what came to be known as the honeytrap case. In his complaint, Singh alleged that the women were blackmailing him, threatening to circulate his sex clips if he did not give them Rs 3 crore.
In a story carried a couple of days ago, the newspaper printed photographs of Singh with two women. The accompanying story alleged that Singh was involved in the scam himself, but was forced to file the police complaint to “save the reputation of people blackmailed in the past”. The article claimed that after Singh’s complaint, the police could raid premises owned by the women and take possession of electronic and other evidence and data from them.
A case was registered in the MIG Police Station against Soni under Sections 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act on Friday based on Singh’s complaint. A senior officer said the eveninger carried explicit photographs and details of intimate conversations between two people, which is an offence under the IT Act.
On Friday, a VCD was submitted before the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which is hearing a petition seeking transfer of the honeytrap case to the CBI. The petitioner’s advocate said he got the VCD — which contains videos and audio conversation lasting 15 hours — from Soni. The advocate said Soni wanted to submit the evidence to the court to ensure it was not misused.
Soni has reportedly gone underground.
The honeytrap case revolves around a syndicate allegedly blackmailing government officials and politicians by threatening to circulate videos of them in compromising positions.