Not the first sex tape that features BJP leaders

Vinod Verma, who was arrested on Friday is said to have exposed the Antagarh poll fixing tapes last year and is believed to have been on the verge of holding a press conference to release the sex tape

Photo taken from Facebook
Photo taken from Facebook
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NH Political Bureau

Whose sex tape was copied by senior journalist from Chhattisgarh Vinod Verma ? Arrested by Chhattisgarh police from his Ghaziabad residence early on Friday morning, Verma told the media on camera that the Chhattisgarh Government was not happy with him because he had a sex tape of a minister in the Raman Singh government.

With the PWD minister Rajesh Moonat alleging that the sex tape figured someone other than him and calling for an investigation, speculation is rife over the identity of the BJP leader in the tape.

While the police claimed that hundreds (by some accounts three thousand) copies of the minute long tape were recovered from Verma’s residence, sources said that Verma was planning to hold a press conference on Saturday and release the tape.

This is not the first time a BJP leader has figured in a sex scandal. In May this year BJP Member of Parliament from Valsad (Gujarat) KC Patel complained that a woman lawyer residing in Ghaziabad was trying to blackmail him with the help of some compromising footage and photographs. He told the police that he had been invited by the lawyer to her residence where his drink was spiked. Once he fell unconscious, he was undressed and incriminating pictures were taken.

The woman told the media that it was the MP who was sexually exploiting her and that he had raped her at his official residence in Delhi, where he had invited her over dinner. Delhi Police, however, arrested the woman and claimed that hundreds of incriminating photographs and footage had been recovered from the lawyer’s house.

While the woman was remanded to judicial custody, the police remained quiet about the identity of people who figured in the sex tapes and photographs they claimed to have seized. The Delhi Police PRO on Friday denied any knowledge of the case and said that without the case number, he would not be able to provide any information.

Earlier this year in July a BJP leader Ravindra Bawanthade in Maharashtra was filmed forcibly kissing and molesting a woman in a moving bus. Sex tapes had also surfaced of a BJP MLA in Assam and another BJP leader in Dhanbad (Jharkhand) in December, 2016.

Journalists who have known Vinod Verma, who was the digital editor of Amar Ujala and had worked with BBC, Hindi edition are convinced that his arrest was intended to stop him from releasing the tapes. Some of them voiced their apprehension that he may have been ‘ trapped’ by someone who passed on the tape to him and also informed the Government in Chhatisgarh.

Verma had fallen foul of the Government when he reported on the situation in Bastar for the Editors Guild of India of which he was a member. He is also said to have been instrumental in exposing the Antagarh poll fixing scam in which C’garh chief minister Raman Singh’s son-in-law and former Congress leader Amit Jogi and his son were overheard discussing bribing of a Congress candidate from antagarh.

In one of the audio tapes published in January, 2016 by the Indian Express, a Jogi supporter is overheard telling him:“He has received a phone from the CM House… and he has been told to remain near the bungalow of Rajesh Moonat (a minister close to Raman Singh whose house is nearby)”. It’s not clear who Siddiqui is referring to as “he”…Amit Jogi says: “Rajesh Moonat ke bangle ke andar ghus jaaye (ask him to enter the bungalow of Rajesh Moonat). Make him speak to Moonat”.

The same Rajesh Moonat is now said to be in the sex tape allegedly recovered from Verma’s house, though Moonat himself has gone on record to say he is not on the tape.

Verma has been booked under section 67 of the Information Technology Act which carries a prison sentence that may extend to three years and a fine that can go up to ₹5lakh.

The section reads as follows : “Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.”

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