RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh police in Kanker district on Sunday registered an FIR against a bank manager who had earlier lodged a police complaint against five journalists for trying to “extort money” from him in return for dropping a story on an alleged bank fraud.
Tribal farmers Dinaram Netam and Kanuram Anchla had accused branch manager Manoj Kumar of Dena Bank at Pakhanjur and an accomplice of siphoning off Rs 15 lakh sanctioned for constructing a pond.
Following the farmers’ complaints, the journalists contacted the manager for his comment. Kumar, however, claimed that the reporters demanded money in return for not reporting the complaint on the alleged fraud.
The police then, on Saturday night, filed an FIR against the five reporters working for a local print and electronic news channel in Kanker district — one of the Maoist-affected districts in north Bastar zone.
However, the police, facing criticism for ignoring the farmers’ plea and paying heed to the accused bank manager’s complaint, lodged an FIR against Kumar.
Kanker superintendent of police KL Dhruv told the New Indian Express, “FIR has also been lodged against the bank manager who is absconding. Based on his complaint the police had earlier registered case against the media persons. We are verifying the credentials of the journalists too.”
Meanwhile, the media fraternity in Bastar expressed displeasure over the haste with which the police filed the FIR against the media representatives. “The police shouldn’t have registered an FIR against the scribes when the complainant himself remains an accused,” said Manish Gupta, president of Bastar press club.