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Chhattisgarh Congress chief gets bail in sex CD case

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Press Trust of India Raipur
The special CBI court here granted bail to Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel Thursday in the sex CD case, which purportedly featured a state minister.
On September 24, the court had sent Baghel in judicial remand for 14 days. After spending three nights at the Raipur Central Jail, Baghel, who had earlier refused to apply for bail following arrest, filed a bail plea on Thursday.
Judge Sumit Kapoor granted him bail on a personal bond and a surety of Rs 1 lakh each, said his lawyer Faizal Rizvi.
The Congress leader shall not leave the country without the court's permission, the judge said.
The CBI lawyer opposed the bail plea, saying Baghel, being president of the state unit of the main opposition party, can influence witnesses and tamper with evidence.
A large number of Congress workers greeted Baghel after he came out of the Central Jail. He proceeded to Rajiv Bhawan, the Congress's office in the city, in an open mini-truck followed by a convoy of vehicles.
Speaking to reporters, Baghel alleged that the ruling BJP was targeting him. He said he was falsely implicated in this case as he and other Congress activists had waved black flags at Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter's recent visit here.
BJP's state in-charge Anil Jain accused the Congress of working with a "criminal mindset" after realising that it does not have any future in the coming assembly polls.
He described Baghel's initial decision to not apply for bail as drama. "No (state) president of a national party had ever circulated an obscene CD publicly. He (Baghel) has not only insulted women but also tarnished the image of the state," Jain said.
On September 24, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a charge sheet in the special court here in the sex CD case, naming Baghel and some others as accused.
Baghel had told the court during the hearing on September 24 that he was innocent and would not seek bail.
Of the other accused, journalist Vinod Verma and Bhilai-based businessman Vijay Bhatia were granted bail on September 24. Kailash Murarka, who was expelled from the BJP two days ago, surrendered on Wednesday and was later granted bail.
In October 2017, a controversy broke out in the state after a 'porn video', allegedly featuring Public Works Department Minister Rajesh Munat surfaced following the arrest of Verma from his residence in Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) by the Raipur police.
A case of extortion was registered at Pandri police station here based on a complaint filed by BJP leader Prakash Bajaj who said he was being harassed over the phone by an unidentified caller who told him that he had a CD of his featuring "master".
Munat lodged a complaint against Baghel and Verma at the Civil Lines police station in Raipur for allegedly tarnishing his image through the "fake CD".
The Chhattisgarh government later recommended a CBI probe into the case. Verma, Baghel and some others were questioned by the agency in the matter.

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First Published: Sep 27 2018 | 10:45 PM IST

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