BHOPAL: An aspiring woman journalist has been arrested by the Bhopal police crime branch for allegedly blackmailing and extorting Rs 5 lakh from Congress MLA Hemant Katare.
The 21-year-old woman, who is a post-graduate student of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication in Bhopal, was arrested by the crime branch sleuths while accepting Rs 5 lakh from the first-time legislator on Wednesday evening.
Hemant Katare, who won the assembly by-poll from Ater seat of Bhind in a pulsating contest last year, is the son of Satyadev Katare, the former leader of the opposition in the state Assembly, who died in October 2016.
On Tuesday, Katare met senior police officers of the state, after which a complaint was lodged with the crime branch alleging that the woman, via one of her friends identified as Vikramjit was blackmailing her with a video in which she claims that he had physical relations with her.
“The girl has made a video in which she is claiming that I (Katare) am a rapist, who has spoiled her life and the lives of several other girls,” Katare alleged in the complaint.
The young Congress MLA considered close to the former union minister and Lok Sabha member from Guna, Jyotiraditya Scindia, alleged that since January 17, the girl is threatening to get him framed in a false rape case. Later, she started demanding Rs 2 crore to settle the matter.
Katare, who lives in Govindpura area of Bhopal, mentioned in the complaint that the woman met him four months back and discussed about a social program.
But after that, she repeatedly requested him to meet her, citing various reasons. The MLA said that he met her only twice and that too in full public glare over the past few weeks.
“Suddenly she called me one day and threatened to ruin my public life if I didn’t fulfill her demands. Subsequently, she demanded Rs 2 crore via a middleman Vikramjit. The sum was later reduced to Rs 50 lakh and then to Rs 25 lakh,” claimed Katare.
“I sought the police's help. Soon afterward, I told the woman and her friend to take Rs 5 lakh as a token amount, as I didn’t have more money. The woman readily agreed to it, and along with a male friend, came to a public place to take the money on Wednesday. As she was accepting it, the crime branch team nabbed her,” said Katare.
According to additional SP (Crime-Bhopal) Rashmi Mishra, the woman has been arrested and booked for extortion and criminal conspiracy under Section 384, 388 and 120B of the IPC. A hunt is on to nab her aide who is absconding. “We’re also investigating the possibility that the woman is a part of some organized blackmailing or extortionist racket,” said Mishra.
Just after the woman’s arrest, a video of the girl went viral on the social media. In the video, the girl is seen calling the Congress MLA a rapist.
She also said Katare is in possession of some of her objectionable pictures, which he is using to force her into a physical relationship.
However, when grilled by the crime branch sleuths in custody, the girl confessed and admitted to having no relations with the MLA. She also admitted to blackmailing the legislator just to extort money from him, as he was about to be married and could pay a huge sum to avoid any public embarrassment.