They are supposed to enlighten people every morning, help them form opinions and highlight social evils. Instead, a bunch of ‘journalists’ are blackmailing people and extorting money.
In the past one year, the Delhi Police have arrested a large number of wannabe journalists for various crimes. Most were either impersonating as journalists or were working in small time dailies and newspapers. The Delhi Police managed to nab as many as 27 such “press reporters” in the past one year.
Modus operandi? According to police, most of the accused caught were trying to blackmail people. On May 25 last year, a freelance journalist was arrested in the Capital for allegedly extorting R8 lakh from a Faridabad-based businessman after secretly filming him in a compromising position with a woman.
The accused Sanjiv Sharma (34) had allegedly conspired with another businessman Neeraj Aggarwal, who owed the victim Rajender Singh Khattana R6 lakh. Aggarwal allegedly did not want to repay the debt.
“Most of the people we have arrested till now have worked in small time dailies and manage to get a press card issued in their names. With that, they try and get in touch with influential people and make contacts. Later they use these contacts to arm twist people into giving money,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The police said there are others who even get sting operations done on people and try to extort money from them.
No way to stop them: According to police, they cannot do much if a case is not registered against such fake scribes.
“We cannot arrest anyone who claims to be a journalist. Most of them do not even have the right credentials. But if no case is registered against them we cannot arrest them. People should check the credentials of the people who claim to be journalists. If someone tries to blackmail you, it is better to call the police than dealing the problem on your own,” the officer added.