Odisha Television (OTV)  is owned by BJP leader Baijayant Panda's wife Jagi Mangat Panda
Odisha Television (OTV) is owned by BJP leader Baijayant Panda's wife Jagi Mangat Panda

A journalist of regional TV channel Odisha Television (OTV) was allegedly arrested by police Thursday. According to an OTV report, Ramesh Rath was picked up by a group of policemen barely a few hundred metres from his residence Thursday afternoon.

He was not allowed any communication, even with his family members, the report claimed.

The arrest came a day after OTV reported on Wednesday that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s aerial flood assessment lasted just 19 flying minutes. The report, based on an RTI reponse was reportedly highlighred by Rath.

OTV dubbed the arrest as a fallout of the channel “exposing” Patnaik’s chopper run to assess the flood situation in the state.

BJP leader Baijayant Panda, whose wife Jagi Mangat Panda owns OTV, claimed that a major national media outlet did not carry the report of the arrest due to internal pressure.

Panda, a former leader of Odisha's ruling BJD, had quit the party and joined the BJP in 2018.

"Got information that though its Bhubaneswar bureau filed a report yesterday about the Odisha govt's detention of a journalist, a major national media outlet didn't carry it due to "internal pressures." This, despite commentators of all hues condemning it. Shameful," he said in a tweet.

Bhubaneswar Police Commissioner Sudhanshu Sarangi said Rath was detained by Keonjhar police for a few hours in connection with a case pertaining to the circulation of an obscene video clip of a sitting female MP, ThePrint reported.

Keonjhar superintendent of police Mitrabhanu Satpathy added that the case predated the 2019 elections, and five persons were arrested in connection with it. One of the accused had named Rath as the one who provided the video details, he was quoted as saying by ThePrint.

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Free Press Journal