The CEO of a Kannada channel was arrested for allegedly blackmailing a businessman. (Representational)
The CEO of a Kannada news channel has been arrested by the Bengaluru police last night on charges of blackmail.
Laxmiprasad Vajapai, CEO of the news channel Janasri, allegedly demanded Rs 15 crore from a businessman. Mr Vajapai, 42, allegedly threatened to air news that was critical of the businessman on the channel, if he did not pay. Police said a brief episode was aired on Janasri channel to threaten the businessman.
The businessman approached the police and the CEO was trapped after allegedly receiving the first installment of Rs 10 crore. Police said the money was found when they raided the Janasri office in Bengaluru's Koramangala area. Another man, who had also received money, was arrested along with Mr Vajapai.
Police have also registered a case of extortion against Mr Vajapai, based on a complaint by another businessmen, for alleged extortion of Rs 10 crore and jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh. The money, police said, was transferred to bank accounts under the name of various entities.
Two other similar complaints against Mr Vajapai have been received earlier this year.
According to Bengaluru police, the modus operandi of Mr Vajapai was that he would first air brief negative content about the person he was targeting, and then contact them, threatening that he has more records and information which will be telecast on the channel, potentially damaging the person's business and reputation. Police said Mr Vajapai would then extort money.