Vinod Verma case: Journalist to remain in judicial custody as Chhattisgarh court rejects bail application

Raipur: A court in Chhattisgarh's Raipur district on Monday rejected the bail plea of senior journalist Vinod Verma, who is in judicial custody after his arrest in connection with a case of alleged blackmailing and extortion.

The court of Judicial Magistrate First Class Bhavesh Kumar Watti rejected the bail application, Verma's lawyer Faisal Rizvi told reporters.

The defence sought bail on various grounds, including lack of evidence, he said.

File image of the former BBC journalist Vinod Verma. Twitter @patrakarvinod

File image of former BBC journalist Vinod Verma. Twitter @patrakarvinod

The court said the arguments put forward could not be discussed during a hearing on bail and that the charges against the journalist were serious, Rizvi added.

The defence would now move the sessions court for bail, he said.

Special Public Prosecutor Suresh Prasad Sharma said he opposed Verma's plea, contending that he could influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence, if granted bail.

Verma is currently in judicial custody till 13 November.

He was sent to judicial remand on 31 October, after three days of police custody.

Verma had, after his arrest by the Raipur police from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh on 27 October, said he was in possession of a "sex tape" of a Chhattisgarh minister.

According to the Raipur police, a case of blackmailing and extortion was registered at the Pandri police station, on a complaint by BJP leader Prakash Bajaj, who alleged that he was being "harassed over the phone by an unidentified caller", who told him that he had a "CD of his master".

Following an investigation, a police team was sent to Ghaziabad and Verma was arrested in connection with the case, the police had said.

They had also claimed to have seized 500 "porn" CDs, a pen drive and a laptop from Verma's possession.

After the journalist's arrest, the "sex-video", allegedly involving Chhattisgarh's Public Works Department Minister Rajesh Munat, surfaced in Raipur, triggering a political storm with opposition Congress and ruling BJP targeting each other on the issue.

The Chhattisgarh government has recommended a CBI probe into the alleged sex CD row.

Munat had told reporters that Verma and the Congress were trying to tarnish his image through the "fake" CD.

Subsequently, the minister had lodged a complaint against Verma and Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel at the Civil Lines police station in Raipur.

Updated Date: Nov 06, 2017 21:30 PM

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