TV channel crew arrested for extortion

TV channel crew arrested for extortion

The owner of a vernacular television channel and five of his reporting crew were arrested for blackmailing and extortion in Banashankari.

The crew of the channel named Praja Prathinidhi were blackmailing and extorting garment shops alleging that they were selling fake brands, the police said.

The arrested have been identified as Santhosh Simha (34) owner of the vernacular television news channel, and N Ashok Kumar (33), residents of Nagarbhavi, V K Mahadeva (31) resident of Hoskerehalli, Rakesh Gowda (23) and Naveen P (21) residents of Jalahalli and Anand S (34) a resident of Kengeri.

According to the police, the accused targeted an apparel shop named Stylo Garments in Banashankari and had interviewed the owners and had taken video footage of garments they were selling.

They later called up the owner and alleged that he was selling fake brands and that they would expose the store, tarnishing its reputation.

They then demanded a ransom for not telecasting the story, the shop owner told the police. Based on the shop owner’s complaint, the police arrested Santhosh Simha and his crew.

They also seized two cars including an MUV with the channel’s logo and names stuck on them.

The police  also seized three computers, a video camera and other gadgets worth Rs 1.6 lakh. With their arrest, the police have detected four cases in Banashankari, Basavanagudi, Bagalgunte and Yelahanka New Town.

After the arrests, the police learnt that the prime accused Santhosh is the state president of an outfit called Karnataka State Human Rights and Journalists Committee. Santhosh had started a daily newspaper of the same name earlier and he later started Praja Prathinidhi television in his wife’s name, the police added. He took to extortion to expand his TV network.