Bengaluru: The city police have arrested a vernacular television news channel owner and five others for blackmailing and extortion.
They tried to extort money from textile shops in Banashankari after getting interviews with them about their products and later began blackmailing them by alleging they were selling fake brands.
The accused have been identified as Santosh C. alias Santosh Simha, 34, a resident of Nagarbhavi, N. Ashok Kumar, 33, a resident of Nagarbhavi, V.K. Mahadev, 31, a resident of Hosakerehalli, Rakesh Gowda, 23, a resident of Jalahalli, Naveen P, 21, a resident of Jalahalli and Anand S, 34, a resident of Kengeri.
The police said that based on a complaint registered by the owner of a textile shop, Stylo, located on K.R. Road in Banashankari police station limits, the police had formed a special team to nab the culprits.
The complainant had stated that the accused came to their shop, took visuals of their products and even misbehaved with one of their female employees. They later alleged we were selling duplicate brands and tried to extort money.
According to the police, Santosh had initially started a daily newspaper Prajaprathinidhi. He later closed the newspaper and started Prajaprathinidhi a TV news channel and registered it under his wife Ashwini’s name.
The accused, V.K. Mahadev, Ashok Kumar, Naveen and Rohith were working as reporters. Rakesh Gowda and Naveen were working as informatives while Santosh’s brother in law, Anand was working as cameraman.
The police said that the accused Santosh wanted to launch his channel across the state, but did not have enough money to invest.
Rakesh and Naveen used to shortlist the local textile shops selling branded clothes and the others used to go to their shops with the cameras, mikes, speakers and an Omni car along with their news channel logo to take the videos.
Later they used to threaten shop owners that they will go ‘live’ about fake brands being sold by them. Using the same modus operandi the accused had cheated and extorted money from four textile shops in Banashankari, Banaswadi, Bagalagunte and Yelahanka New Town police station limits. With their arrest, the police have seized Rs 95,000 in cash, clothes worth Rs 65,000, two Omni cars, video cameras and computers, which were used to commit the crime.