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Journalist Sunil Namdeo hailed for questioning Saumya Chaurasia, ‘super CM’ of Chhattisgarh, as ED takes her into custody: How he was hounded in the past

Notably, the journalist identified as Sunil Namdeo stated on December 2 that the arrested official and the Baghel government have been targeting the journalists in the state for exposing their corruption.

Hours after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday arrested Saumya Chaurasia, the deputy secretary to the Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, in a money laundering case, a video is going viral over social media which shows a journalist being praised for intensely questioning Chaurasia while in the ED custody. The journalist has been identified as Sunil Namdeo who works for News Today Network based in Uttarakhand.

Namdeo who is a resident of Raipur, Chhattisgarh according to his Twitter bio, could be seen questioning the arrested Saumya Chaurasia while she was being taken away by the ED officials. “The ‘super CM’ has now been arrested. She has snatched the hard-earned money from Chhattisgarh citizens. The administrative officials used to worship her and now she is in the custody,” Namdeo could be heard saying. He also constantly kept on labelling her as ‘Bhrashtachaar Ki Murti’, the literal translation of which is ‘the Queen of Corruption’.

After the ED officials took Chaiurasia away, the journalist was hailed by people around including probable lawyers and government officers who had gathered at the spot during her arrest. “Ek Number, Behtarrin, Wahh Wahh (excellent)”, the crowd cheered as they lauded the journalist for fiercely voicing against the arrested official. The journalist also stated that the arrested official had threatened a journalist in the past.

Saumya Chaurasia, the deputy secretary to the Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel was arrested by the ED on Friday for allegedly being involved in an illegal mining case involving over Rs 150 crore. Chaurasia is a Chhattisgarh Administrative Service (CAS) public official who joined the CM’s office when Baghel established the state government in 2018. She was under the surveillance of central authorities, and locations associated with her, including others, were also raided by the Income Tax (IT) department.

The senior bureaucrat had gained attention when the I-T department searched her residence in July and confiscated 14 crores of undisclosed cash and jewellery. She was also found to have cheated the government by evading taxes. In February 2020, income tax officers raided Chaurasia’s Bhilai residence, causing Baghel to write a scathing letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over what he called unconstitutionally and politically driven I-T raids in the Congress-ruled state. According to Baghel’s letter, the searches corresponded with a criminal inquiry launched by his administration into acts of corruption committed by the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) govt.

Notably, the journalist identified as Sunil Namdeo stated on December 2 that the arrested official and the Baghel government have been targeting the journalists in the state for exposing their corruption. In November this month, Namdeo had written to Home Minister Amit Shah and the Prime Minister’s Office stating that the journalists in the state including himself were being tortured by the state government for reporting against them. “The State officials are harassing the senior journalists in the state for reporting the truth and exposing the corrupt state officials. The law and order in the state have also become a matter of grave concern,” he had said.

Namdeo in the letter further said that his life was in danger for the reason that constant threats were being issued to him by state CM Bhupesh Baghel and his administration including his deputy secretary Saumya Chaurasia, Anand Chhabra, IAS Anil Tuteja, and ASP Abhishek Maheshwari. He had also sent a similar letter to the Chhattisgarh Governor, Chief Secretary, State DGP, and Chief Justice of India.

In the letter, he alleged that the state officials mentioned above were all collaborating to bring him down. He claimed that after uncovering the NAN fraud, several cops had turned against him. Reports mention that Namdeo was the first to uncover that government officials were running an alleged extortion racket by imposing illegal levies and collecting Rs 25 per tonne from coal suppliers. “Following that, four bogus cases were brought against me, one after the other,” he said.

The journalist was reportedly arrested in the year 2021 for reporting news against a state IPS officer. He was also booked by the state police for interfering in a governmental job. However, he was lauded by many including probable lawyers and government officials as he fiercely reported against the arrested official.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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