Raipur: A controversial journalist whose name had cropped in the “sex CD” episode last year, has been appointed the political advisor to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, said reports on Friday. (Also read:Also Read - Chhattisgarh Likely To Reduce Fuel Charges Soon, Minister TS Singh Deo Makes Big Statement
The General Administration Department appointed four advisors to the chief minister, an official statement said, and Vinod Verma was one of them. Another journalist, Ruchir Garg, was named media advisor to the Chief Minister. Also Read - Watch: Bhupesh Baghel Gets Whipped During Govardhan Puja. Here's The Story Behind The Age-Old Ritual
The statement added that Pradip Sharma was appointed planning, policy, agriculture and rural development advisor and Rajesh Tiwari parliamentary advisor to Baghel. Also Read - Bhupesh Baghel Stages Protest After Being Stopped at Lucknow Airport, Says No Intention to Visit Lakhimpur
Verma was arrested from Ghaziabad in October 2017 by the Raipur police after a case of blackmailing and extortion was registered on a complaint by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Prakash Bajaj.
Bajaj had alleged that he was “being harassed over the phone by an unidentified caller”, who told him he had a CD of his “aaka” (master). Police had claimed to have recovered 500 CDs and some pen drives from Verma’s residence during a raid.
After Verma’s arrest, a “sex CD”, purportedly featuring then PWD Minister Rajesh Munat, had surfaced in Raipur. Munat had termed the CD as “fake” and alleged it was made and circulated to tarnish his image. He had later filed a complaint against Baghel, then state Congress president.
On the recommendation of the then BJP government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the investigation of two cases related to the circulation of the CD.
Verma was released on bail in December last year after the police failed to file a charge sheet against him in the mandatory 60 days. In September this year, the CBI had filed the charge sheet in a special court here in the case, naming Baghel, Verma and three others as accused.
During the investigation, one more accused, Rinku Khanuja, had allegedly committed suicide in June this year.
All the accused were booked under IPC sections 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 67A of the IT Act (whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form any material which contains sexually explicit act), according to the charge sheet.
Verma and Baghel had denied any involvement in the preparation or circulation of the CD. Baghel had initially refused to apply for bail and stayed in judicial custody for a couple of days.