The Bengaluru police arrested the CEO of a Kannada news channel on Friday for allegedly blackmailing and extorting money from businessmen.
According to the police, 42-year-old Lakshmiprasad Vajpaye, CEO of Kannada news channel Janasri based on a complaint filed by a businessman.
In the complainant filed at Koramangala police station, the channel aired a derogatory news item against the businessman and the CEO allegedly demanded Rs 10 crore to withhold the rest of the episode.
The police raided the office of the channel when the businessman was handing over the money and seized it.
The Koramangala police then arrested Lakshmiprasad and another employee Midhun, who had received the money from the businessman.
The duo has been booked under Section 384 of the IPC (punishment for extortion).
Meanwhile, two more cases have been registered against Lakshmiprasad in two different police stations, both for extortion and blackmailing.
Although the Janasri's website says that it is owned by Yash Broadcasting Industries Pvt. Ltd, the channel is reportedly the mouthpiece of BJP leader Janardhan Reddy and his close aide Sriramalu. The channel, that was launched in 2011 has its headquarters in Bengaluru.
The businessman who filed the complaint at the Koramangala police station isn't the first victim.
According to the police, CEO Lakshmiprasad followed a fixed modus operandi. He would first identify a businessman, dig out information on the businessman and prepare a news item. He would then broadcast only a portion of this negative content and proceed to contact the "victim." Lakshmiprasad would then demand money in return for not airing the full episode.
There are two more similar cases against Lakshmiprasad at Commercial street and Mahalakshmipuram police stations.
In the case registered at Commercial Street police station, Lakshmi Prasad and his associates have been booked under section 384 (extortion), 385 ( Putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion), 506 (criminal intimidation) r/w 34 IPC for extortion of Rs 10 crore and jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh from another businessman.
Though Lakshmiprasad had demanded Rs 15 crore, he had received Rs 10 crore through bank transactions. The police said that an FIR was filed at Mahalaxmipuram police station on March 22 by a businessman, accusing Lakshmiprasad of using the same means to trap him.
South East DCP Boralingaiah, who is heading the investigation, is looking into Lakshmiprasad's antecedents and will probe possibilities of his involvement in more such cases.