NOIDA: Four people, who identified themselves as journalists, have been arrested by the Noida Police for allegedly "putting pressure" on police personnel by using their media outlets for personal gains, officials said on Saturday.
One other 'so called' journalist is accused in the case but absconding, they said, adding that the five worked as a gang with a motive to have government officials, especially policemen, work for their agenda (mostly to help accused in cases) in lieu of money.
"The gang included Sushil Pandit, Udit Goyal, Raman Thakur, Chandan Rai and Nitesh Pandey.
Thakur is absconding, while the four others were arrested on Friday night," District Magistrate, Gautam Buddh Nagar, B N Singh said in a joint press conference with SSP Vaibhav Krishna.
"Using their influence as mediapersons, the gang was putting undue pressure on officials to prevent them from carrying out their lawful duty and make personal temporal, pecuniary and material gains," Singh said.
He said the officials, who would not toe their line, were targeted by the gang, which disseminated content to malign their image.
"They would put out motivated news stories to malign their image, create a negative perception about such officials, including IPS officers, by circulating content on their news portals, social media and WhatsApp," Singh said.
Senior Superintendent of Police Krishna said the accused have been arrested and none of them is an accredited journalist.
"Four 'so called' journalists have been arrested and none of them is an accredited journalist.
They had a gang which used to blackmail officers, especially police officers, through different web portals/social media," he said.
An FIR has been registered against them under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters Act and the Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, Singh told reporters.
They have been accused of misusing "freedom of expression" by running "baseless news" targeting police officials and "trying to create a divide" among the force based on "reports on caste bias", according to the FIR details.
In a brief interaction with reporters after the press conference, the accused refuted the allegations and said they would move the higher court against their arrest.