He had paid for "assistance" to save his shop from being sealed by a civic agency. Months later, he was ordered to cough up Rs 20 lakh in instalments to save his life from falling apart.
Vijay Kumar, the 56-year-old car mechanic who alleged that three journalists had tried to extort money from him at the behest of a man who was blackmailing him with a sexually explicit video, had fallen into his alleged tormentor's web of deceit in early July.
"Hunny and Sunny are the sons of an old acquaintance of mine. When I was away from my shop in July, Hunny told me that my shop could be sealed by the civic authorities and introduced me to Manu Sharma, who he said could help resolve the issue," Kumar said.
He had then paid Rs 40,000 to Sharma in two instalments of Rs 30,000 and Rs 10,000 to "resolve the issue".
On Thursday, Kumar, a resident of Vasant Vihar's A Block, approached a city court alleging that Sharma, who lives in Satya Niketan, was using an incriminating video to blackmail him.
Police said Kumar had been ordered to pay Rs 20 lakh to Sharma in four instalments. After he refused to do so, according to his complaint, he was contacted by Pradeep Shrivastava and Bhumika Sharma, employed by Hindi news channels ABP News and India TV, who threatened Kumar on his behalf.
"The girl (Bhumika) called me to say that she wanted an interview about a complaint that had been filed against me. Later, Shrivastava met me in Chanakyapuri with some CDs and photographs of me in a sexual act," Kumar said.
A press release from India TV said, "In order to uphold the high standards of integrity and probity in journalism, India TV has suspended with immediate effect the services of (Bhumika) Sharma."
"India TV wishes to clarify that Bhumika Sharma was not given any official assignment in relation to the above-mentioned matter, and the actions taken by her were taken in her personal capacity."