The Editor-in-Chief and CEO of a news channel in Uttarakhand was arrested from his Ghaziabad residence on Sunday for allegedly pressurising on one of his employees to do a sting operation on prominent politicians including the state chief minister with an intent to blackmail them, police said.
Samachar Plus CEO Umesh Kumar Sharma was arrested from his Ghaziabad residence after raids were conducted at his office in Noida and residence in Ghaziabad, ADG (law and order) Ashok Kumar said.
Samachar Plus channel, which has operations in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, was in news in 2016 when it did a sting operation of the then Chief Minister Harish Rawat, purportedly showing him negotiating a deal to bribe disgruntled lawmakers and buy their support ahead of a floor test in the state assembly.
Sharma was arrested following a complaint lodged against him by a journalist of the channel Ayush Gaud accusing him of threatening to eliminate him after he failed to do a sting operation on prominent politicians and senior bureaucrats of the state for which he was being pressured, he said.
The FIR accuses him and four others of doing sting operations on senior politicians and bureaucrats with the purpose of blackmailing them and extorting money from them.
A case has been registered against Sharma under sections 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) , 388 (extortion by threat of accusation of an offence) and 120 b (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC, Mr Kumar said.
Rs. 39.73 lakh in cash, $16,279, 11,030 Thai Baht besides a number of mobile phones, hard disc, pen drives, memory cards, i-Pad, laptop and camera have been seized from Sharma's office and residence, the ADG said.
Assistant superintendent of police (circle officer Indirapuram) Ravi Kumar said Uttarakhand Police had sought assistance from local police and conducted raids.
Sharma has been brought to Dehradun and is being interrogated, he said.
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