December 30, 2019 4:02:46 am
Two television journalists based in Bhopal were involved in facilitating deals between the accused in the honey trap case in Madhya Pradesh and their victims, according to a chargesheet filed in a Bhopal court on Saturday.
In September, Indore Police arrested six persons after Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) superintending engineer Harbhajan Singh alleged that he was being blackmailed for Rs 3 crore with video clips that showed him in a compromising position.
Of the six accused, two women and a driver were held from Indore and the three other women were arrested in Bhopal, where all the accused lived. All of them are still in judicial custody.
A chargesheet filed in an Indore court on December 16 was in connection with the FIR filed by Singh. The chargesheet in the Bhopal court relates to a complaint of human trafficking filed by the father of the youngest accused.
This chargesheet says Veerendra Sharma of Sahara News and Gaurav Sharma, who has worked with various media organisations, not only facilitated deals but also took their share. The alleged exchange of money, in one case Rs 1 crore in cash, took place at the flats owned by the two journalists.
A police officer told The Indian Express that the chargesheet is based on statements given by the accused and the victim of trafficking but further probe is still on.
The chargesheet has named P C Meena, an additional chief secretary rank officer who was transferred after a video of him went viral months ago, as having paid Rs 20 lakh. Two OSDs to two ministers in the current Congress government have also been named.
The chargesheet quotes the youngest accused as saying that she, along with the driver and two other accused, went to Veerendra Sharma’s flat to take money from Meena. The other two accused went inside the flat and returned with a bag carrying notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000, amounting to Rs 20 lakh. “These people always make journalist Gaurav Sharma medium and collect money from officers through journalist(s),” the chargesheet says. The chargesheet quotes her as saying that she does not know the name of an IAS officer who was blackmailed for Rs 1 crore, but that Gaurav Sharma was involved in this matter and got an “equal share of Rs 33 lakh”.
Despite repeated attempts, Gaurav Sharma did not respond to calls and text messages.
Veerendra Sharma said neither has the SIT served a notice on him nor questioned him. He claimed he shifted from the flat mentioned in the chargesheet. “Just because an accused names someone, will he become an accused?” he asked.
He alleged that “big names are involved in the case” and they are using different tactics to divert attention. “If I was involved, would they spare me? Especially when Chief Minister Kamal Nath has given a free hand to officials? Did they not demolish Jeetu Soni?,” he said referring to the Indore-based businessman whose eveninger carried a series of stories about the honey trap case. Soni’s properties have been demolished and he is currently on the run.
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