RAIPUR: Vinod Verma, a senior journalist arrested for alleged extortion and blackmailing in the sex-CD case purportedly featuring a Chhattisgarh minister, was granted bail by a Raipur court on Thursday.
Special CBI Magistrate Shantanu Kumar Deshlahre granted relief to the scribe after he submitted a bond of `1 lakh and a guarantee of `1 lakh as directed by the court.
According to Verma’s counsel Faisal Rizvi, the CBI did not produce any charge sheet before the court within the stipulated 60-day period. “Following this, the special magistrate’s court granted him bail under Section 167 (2) of the CrPC,” Rizvi said.
“It’s extremely difficult to work as a journalist under this (BJP) government,” Verma said after his release from the Raipur Central Jail late in the evening. He rejected the allegations of blackmailing and extortion attempt. “Nothing could be proved in the last 60 days,” he said.
Verma, a former BBC Hindi journalist and member of the Editors’ Guild of India, was arrested from his Ghaziabad house by Chhattisgarh Police on October 27 on the charge of making an explicit video of the minister, Rajesh Munat, with a view to blackmailing him. The case against Verma was registered at Pandri police station in Raipur based on a complaint lodged by BJP leader Prakash Bajaj. Munat had also lodged an FIR against Verma on October 27, alleging that the ‘fake’ sex CD was made with the intention of extorting money from him.
Verma was brought to Raipur on transit and sent to judicial custody, which was extended thrice by the court, till January 3. Verma alleged he had been framed by the state police.