Two weeks after an audio tape created ripples in Kerala, five journalists, including CEO of Mangalam TV Ajith Kumar were arrested by Crime Branch on Tuesday night.
A case was filed against nine journalists, including a woman journalist who honey trapped former sports Minister Saseendran under 120 b of the IPC (criminal conspiracy) and section 67 a of the IT Act.
Though the case was against nine people, only five have been arrested. A source in Crime Branch told TNM that the rest have been asked to appear on Wednesday morning.
Sajan Varghese, Chairman of Mangalam TV is the first accused in the case, CEO Ajith Kumar is the second accused. Other accused in the case are Coordinating Editor MB Santhosh, Rishi K Manoj, K Jayachandran alias S Narayanan, who lead the sting operation team and News Editors Lakshmi Mohan, Firoz Sali Mohammed and S V Pradeep and the woman who allegedly spoke with the then Minister.
Ajith Kumar, Jayachandran, Pradeep, Mohammed and Santosh have been arrested.
Sajan and the woman who spoke to the minister did not appear before the police today. A source said that the news anchor who had anchored the bulletin that first aired the story was allowed to leave after questioning.
The sting operation that had an elaborate and sexually explicit conversation had lead to the resignation of the minister.
But the channel had received a lot of flak for breaking all journalistic norms and for doing an entrapment.
Widespread criticism had finally forced the channel to clarify that it was a reporter who had the conversation with the minister, and not a hapless housewife as they had first claimed.
On Monday, Ajith Kumar filed a complaint with the Museum Police station in Thiruvananthapuram claiming that the laptop and mobile phones on which the sting was captured had been stolen. This complaint was registered just a day before they were scheduled to appear before the police.