Pune: Narayangaon police have booked a YouTube channel journalist on charges of extorting Rs 20 thousand from a farmer in Junnar taluka threatening him with broadcasting news of excavation work going on in his farm.
The suspect Sandeep Pandurang Utarade and his three accomplices have been booked by police. Kishor Vilas Hande, a farmer from Yedgaon village in Junnar taluka has filed a complaint against the local journalists.
Utarade operates a YouTube channel by the name Junnar Times. This is the second case of extortion registered against him in the past few days. Utarade is presently in police custody in an earlier case registered by another farmer while his accomplice and another local journalist Sachin Jadhav are absconding.
In the recent case registered at Narayangaon police station, Hande has stated in his complaint that he had undertaken the excavation work at his farm in June month. At that time, Utarade and his partners came to the farm and asked him to stop work. Utarade threatened to broadcast a piece of news on his YouTube channel alleging that illegal work is being done at the farm. Further, Utarade also threatened Hande to seize the excavator machine and other equipment and attach it with the Talathi office. Utarade then demanded Rs 50 thousand from Hande to not broadcast the news. When Hande refused to pay this amount, Utarade and his partner Jadhav agreed for Rs 20 thousand amount to be paid. Utarade and Jadhav took the money on June 23 at their Junnar office.
Meanwhile, in the earlier case registered against Utarade, a farmer Sachin Thakur has filed the complaint on July 23. Utarade has been remanded to police custody up to July 30 by a local court in this case, while Jadhav is absconding. Assistant Police Inspector Arjun Ghode Patil is investigating both extortion cases.
Ghode Patil said, "After these two cases were registered, we have received complaints about other YouTube channel journalists who operate locally. We are verifying the complaint and will take action accordingly."