BENGALURU: The City police have arrested the Chief Executive Officer of a Kannada news channel for allegedly blackmailing and extorting money from a city-based businessman.
Lakshmiprasad Vajapai (42), the CEO of Janasri News Channel, was arrested on Friday night while allegedly accepting the first instalment from the businessman whom he had threatened to defame through his channel. The channel had aired a ‘negative’ clip to threaten the businessman from Injaz Group, builders and developers, said a senior police officer.
The police have also arrested Vajapai’s assistant Mithun, who received the money, and booked both for extortion.
After approaching police, the complainant and his brother went to Janasri office to pay the first instalment of `10 crore. Vajapai had asked the complainant to pay the money in five instalments. The total demand was made for `15 crore.
Around 6.30pm, the police, who were in mufti, caught Vajapai and his gunmen and took them to the police station. Vajapai was produced before a court which remanded him in police custody.
A similar case of extortion was registered against Vajapai and his associates at Commercial Street Police station earlier this year.
According to police, Vajapai would target a businessman after collecting information about his business and then air some negative news about him. He would then contact him and threaten to air more such news that could destroy his business and reputation. He would then extort money.
Vajapai, a native of Andhra Pradesh, had joined Janasri four years ago. Prior to that he was heading a news channel in Hyderabad and was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police several times for similar offences. He moved to Bengaluru after he was sacked from the news channel there.