TV channel editor, who shot to fame with sting operation on Harish Rawat, arrested amidst extortion allegations

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Uttarakhand Police have arrested Umesh Kumar Sharma, the owner of local Hindi news channel Samachar Plus, for allegedly forcing staff to carry out sting operations on politicians and bureaucrats in a bid to extort money from them. Sharma had earned notoriety in 2016 after he conducted a sting operation on the then Congress Chief Minister Harish Rawat.

Harish Rawat

In the famous sting video of 2016, Harish Rawat was seen allegedly offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly. This had prompted the CBI to summon him for questioning in Delhi. Sharma had then become a hero for the BJP, which was instrumental in dismissing the government headed by Rawat.

On Sunday, Sharma was arrested from Ghaziabad after an FIR was registered against him in Dehradun-based Rajpur police station on 10 August under Sections 386 (extortion by instilling fear of death), 388 (extortion by putting any person in fear of an accusation), and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

Uttarakhand ADG (law & order) Ashok Kumar was quoted by Indian Express, “Sharma was arrested by Uttarakhand police from Ghaziabad on allegations from his staff member that he had compelled the staff to perform sting operations for extorting money. Sharma is being brought to Dehradun.”

The FIR was filed on the complaint of one of reporter working for Samachar Plus. The complainant Ayush Gaur, who worked as Editor (investigations) with Samachar Plus, had accused Sharma of using sting operation videos to extort money from bureaucrats and politicians.

Sharma allegedly threatened to kill Kumar after he refused to be a complicit in his plan to conduct sting operations with an intention to extort politicians and bureaucrats.

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