Journalists of the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh are now facing collateral damage of the power struggle between the camps led by chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and the health minister TS Singh Deo after the Chhattisgarh Police arrested two journalists for allegedly spreading misinformation to destabilize the Baghel government.
The arrested journalists were identified as Madhukar Dubey and his technical assistant Avinash Palliwar who were booked under section sections 384 (punishment for extortion), 189 (threat of injury to public servant), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 501 (1) (B) (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the IPC.
An FIR was lodged at the Civil Lines Police station of Raipur district. The complaint was filed by two Congress MLAs Brihaspat Singh of Ramanujganj assembly seat and Kuldeep Juneja of Raipur (North).
Madhukar Dubey and Avinash Palliwar run a web portal zeroparty.in and they had reportedly published certain contents against ruling party MLAs talking against the chief minister of Chhattisgarh. The content was apparently part of a sting operation published on October 24.
Police seized their laptops, mobile phones and other digital devices and also removed all such contents uploaded on the portal. The police apparently have also disabled the portal.
“The matter is related to the circulation of some contents by them which were called a sting operation. According to complainants who are MLAs the contents were misleading and fabricated and these were circulated with an intention to malign their image as well as the state government. The probe is going on in this matter,” the officer-in-charge of Civil Lines Police station Satya Prakash Tiwari stated.
He did not disclose anything specific about the content. But it seems that both MLAs had featured in the said sting, apparently filmed in a hotel as some media reports have claimed.
Brihaspat Singh is considered close to chief minister Baghel. The MLA often courted controversy for making controversial and derogatory remarks. He had called tribals as illiterate. He had created a controversy after he accused TS Deo and his relatives of assaulting him and planning to kill him. In the power struggle between the chief minister and health minister, Brihaspat Singh has vociferously supported Baghel.
Barely three days back, both camps made a public demonstration of their muscle power when a senior party leader Pawan Agrawal close to the health minister Deo was manhandled on the state during a programme at Jashpur for speaking in support of health minister.