Journalist who ‘stung’ Uttarakhand CM has govt security, connections

A property developer-turned-journalist, Umesh Kumar, who ‘stung’ Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, is a ‘Y’ category central protectee under the VIP security regime of Union home ministry and moves in cavalcade of vehicles.
Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat addresses a press conference in Dehradun.(PTI Photo)
Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat addresses a press conference in Dehradun.(PTI Photo)
Updated on Mar 28, 2016 12:44 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi/dehradun

A property developer-turned-journalist, Umesh Kumar, who ‘stung’ Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, is a ‘Y’ category central protectee under the VIP security regime of Union home ministry and moves in cavalcade of vehicles.

“One needs courage to do a sting operation of a sitting chief minister, which has never been done in the country before. I gave the footage of sting operation of Congress rebels as I didn’t want the story to remain limited to Uttarakhand audience. I wanted the whole country to see it. It took me three days to conduct the sting operation,” says Kumar.

On being guarded by the central security personnel, Kumar said since his channel was running a show on wanted criminals and once his office was also attacked, therefore he was provided with security.

Those who know him say, Kumar landed in Dehradun around 14 years ago and started a small property developing business and now he is the editor-in-chief and chief executive officer of Samachar Plus channel.

His rag to riches story has not been without a strong political connection. He was apparently provided security cover by Uttarakhand’s first chief minister ND Tewari soon after the state was formed in 2002. Kumar had good relation with almost all chief ministers except Ramesh Pokriyal Nishank, who had issued notice for sealing his properties in Uttarakhand. Kumar, who had then gone underground, could be seen with senior BJP leaders when Nishank was replaced with BC Khanduri.

Minutes after the sting operation was broadcast on Saturday, the rebel group led by Bahuguna and former minister Harak Singh Rawat demanded the CM’s resignation. But, Rawat dubbed him as a “known blackmailer” saying that all “chief ministers who refused to be cowed down by his blackmailing had to go through this kind of situation only”.

“I did a sting operation on what was known as Hydro scam during the Nishank government. I was slapped with 18 criminal cases by the then BJP government. Congress leaders praised me then. No they are alleging I am with BJP. I have no political affiliation,” Kumar said.

Chaudhary lives in Indirapuram in Ghaziabad and locals say that he moves in a cavalcade of vehicles now.

“Umesh Kumar has been provided with two personal security officers (PSOs) from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), who provide round the clock protection to him. He is entitled to security for all across the country,” said a home ministry official requesting anonymity.

He was brought under the CRPF protection last year, said the official. The nature of threat faced by him was not specified. There are around 270 central proctees that get security from central paramilitary forces including cabinet ministers, high ranking government officials like National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other who face threat to their life due to the nature of work they do or the position held by them.

A local media baron now in his mid-40s owns prime properties in Noida and Dehradun and his long list of high profile friends include colonizers, bureaucrats, film stars, musicians, cricketers and politicians. In Feb this year he launched an e-paper platform that was inaugurated by UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anupam Trivedi provides impetus to HT’s coverage from Uttarakhand and has covered politics, environment, policing, entertainment for close to 17 years.

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