PALANPUR: Police in Gujarat have registered an FIR against two persons and detained them after a video purportedly showing BJP MP Parbatbhai Patel in a compromising position with a woman went viral on social media even as the parliamentarian claimed the clip was doctored, said an official on Wednesday.
The FIR was lodged on Tuesday at the Tharad police station of Banaskantha district on a complaint given by the MP's son, Shailesh Patel, said Deputy Superintendent of Police P H Chaudhary, adding the Local Crime Branch (LCB) is probing the case.
Parbatbhai Patel (72), the Lok Sabha MP from Banaskantha, denied any wrongdoing and claimed the video has been doctored and his face superimposed on the person seen in the clip, while his family alleged a conspiracy to extort money and defame them.
"In his complaint, Shailesh Patel has alleged that his father's edited video was made viral on social media by the two accused - Magha Patel and Mukesh Rajput (both detained) as part of a pre-planned conspiracy.
"We have lodged an FIR under sections 389 (extortion), 500 (defamation), criminal conspiracy (120-B) of the IPC and under relevant sections of the IT Act," he said.
Evidence collected so far suggests there was a conspiracy to malign the MP's image and extort money from him through the video, said the DySP.
In the one-minute video, a man resembling Parbatbhai Patel can be seen hugging a woman on a sofa and getting intimate.
It appears they were aware about the presence of some other persons in the room, including the one who was shooting the video.
According to Chaudhary, Magha Patel had earlier threatened on his Facebook page that he will "publish a video of Banaskantha's top politician on August 15".
Then on Tuesday, the same video, purportedly featuring Parbatbhai Patel, was shared in a WhatsApp group by Mukesh Rajput, he said.
"Both (Magha Patel and Rajput) were shown as accused in the FIR.
They were detained for questioning by the LCB.
Evidence given by the complainant and collected from the social media by police primarily establish that there was a conspiracy to malign the MP's image and extort money from him through this video," said the DySP.
He added that the video will be sent for forensic analysis to find out its authenticity.
Shailesh Patel told reporters that the video has been used for defaming his father and to extort money.
"Magha Patel has been threatening to release the video for some time. This is an edited video created only to defame my father. This is a conspiracy and the accused had earlier demanded money in exchange for not releasing the video," said Shailesh Patel.
Parbatbhai Patel, who had previously served as a minister in the BJP government in Gujarat, claimed the video has been edited by superimposing his face on the person seen in the clip.
"Everyone knows about my character. I never indulged in any wrongdoings in my entire life. It is possible that my photo was used for making such an edited video.
"People have been trying to extort money from me since 2016 for this video. I had challenged them to release it if they want to," said the Lok Sabha MP.