Bengaluru police has begun an investigation against the management of a private television channel and carried out searches at the offices of Power TV and the residence of an official at the television channel on Monday. The police investigation was based on a complaint filed by the director of a construction company who was featured in a report by the channel which alleged acts of corruption.
Power TV, a private Kannada television channel, ran a series of programmes last month using the audio of a sting operation allegedly done by an official in the channel on a member of the Chief Minister’s family.
A police complaint was filed on September 24 by Chandrakanth Ramalingam, the director of a construction company – Ramalingam Construction Company Limited (RCCL) – against Power TV.
The director’s complaint alleged that an official from Power TV coerced him into making statements that he had made payments to political figures. He also alleged that these conversations were recorded by the channel without his consent.
Police registered a case under the charges of criminal intimidation, forgery cheating and criminal conspiracy against officials of Power TV.
Police obtained a search warrant to conduct searches in Power TV’s office and the residence of Haseebur Rahanman, a company official. The search was limited to collecting physical and digital evidence relevant to the case. However, according to sources, police seized equipment and ensured that the channel went off air.
RCCL, as per its website, is involved in construction and irrigation projects in Karnataka. Chandrakanth Ramalingam was arrested in 2016 by the ED and CBI in relation to a case of cash seizure and money laundering.
Complicating matters further is a defamation case filed by Vijayendra, son of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, on September 20, which names three officials from Power TV – Rakesh Shetty, managing director and editor-in-chief; and anchors Chandan Sharma and Rehman.
“Being in public life is not easy. You refuse illegal demands & reject requests of News channel head and the channel turns vicious against you & your family members. I won’t take this lying down, Power TV. My first response – Criminal defamation – is on its way. More will follow,” Vijayendra said in a tweet.
The opposition Congress, in a press conference on September 23, demanded Yediyurappa’s resignation and an independent probe on the allegations raised by Power TV’s sting operation.
“Propriety and probity in public life demands a complete, thorough and independent investigation of the allegations of corruption against BS Yediyurappa and his family members. This is only possible by way of a time bound and an independent probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge or by the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court himself, aided and assisted by an SIT,” the Karnataka Congress said in a press release.
The Congress also raked up the issue in the Karnataka Assembly where an emotional Yediyurappa challenged the Congress to prove the allegations made by the channel.