Press Council calls for report on Verma's arrest

The Press Council of India (PCI) on Friday took suo motu cognizance of the arrest of Vinod Verma, an ex-BBC journalist and editor of a Hindi daily by the Chhattisgarh Police.

"Taking suo motu cognizance of the issue, the PCI chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad has directed the Government of Chhatisgarh to file a report on the facts of the case," the council said in a statement on Friday evening.

Verma, who is also a consultant to Chhattisgarh Congress president Bhupesh Baghel, was arrested by a police team from his residence in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh on charges of blackmailing Chhattisgarh Minister Rajesh Munat with a purported sex tape.

"The PCI chairman has noted with concern reports about the arrest of the senior journalist," council said.

Meanwhile, various section of media fraternity, including the Press Association, condemned the arrest of Verma. It demanded a dispassionate and fair inquiry into the charges levelled against Verma.

"The manner in which the arrest was done is shocking as Verma was not evading the arms of the law and neither was he absconding. The move by the state government appears to be intimidatory and does not serve the course of justice," it27/dh said in a joint statement.

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