11 FIRs in 4 days: MP journalist targeted for report on BJP minister?

The trigger seemed to be Jaalam Singh’s report on a viral video featuring a BJP minister he didn’t name.

WrittenBy:Avdhesh Kumar
A silhouette of a journalist chained to an iron ball symbolising FIRs.

When a journalist in Madhya Pradesh filed a report earlier this month, he had no idea he would soon be named in 11 FIRs in the span of four days – and that he would be arrested.

Some of the FIRs had nothing to do with Singh’s report at all. At least one complainant said she hadn’t even heard of Singh or his reportage; she was told to “sign papers” and she did. 

Singh’s family believes the FIRs are punishment for writing a report that was presumed to be about a BJP minister.

Jaalam Singh is a crime reporter in Guna with Dainik Khulasa, an online newspaper. On September 7, he wrote a story on a video purportedly showing Mahendra Singh Sisodia, the state minister of panchayat and rural development, with a woman. It went viral in Guna.

Singh’s report did not mention Sisodia by name. It merely said a video had gone viral, and an unnamed politician in the video might be dumped by his party’s higher-ups.


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The report said a video, purportedly showing a minister with a woman, had gone viral.

Eleven FIRs swiftly followed. On September 13, Singh was arrested. He’s presently in jail in Guna. His family has applied for bail but his wife Suman Kumar told Newslaundry they’re struggling to put together the bail amount.

She said the family is “very distressed”.

“The police came to our house after the first FIR was registered,” she said. “Jaalam had gone out of the house for a few days. As long as he was away, FIRs were registered at different police stations against him in Guna and Shivpuri districts. By the time he was arrested, 11 FIRs were filed. He was arrested in Kota where he was staying in a relative’s house.”

Of 11 FIRs, many by those linked to BJP

Newslaundry accessed eight of the 11 FIRs registered against Singh. Most of them were based on complaints from people associated with the BJP.

FIR #1

The complaint was registered at Guna police station by Rajesh Singh Rajput, the district president of the BJP Mahila Morcha. It alleged Singh had maligned Sisodia’s image by spreading rumours. It also accused him of blackmail. The FIR was registered under sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 384 and 385 (extortion), and 469 (forgery) of the Indian Penal Code.

Rajput refused to speak to Newslaundry.

FIR #2

The second FIR was registered at Fatehgarh police station in Guna. The complainant was Prabhudayal Nagar, a rural employment assistant at Kapasi gram panchayat. 

Nagar claimed Singh and a journalist named Dinesh Yadav from Chanchal Express had “blackmailed” him of Rs 15,000. The FIR was filed under section 384.

Newslaundry could not contact Nagar because the mobile number on the FIR was invalid.

FIR #3

This FIR was filed on September 9 under IPC section 384 at Miana police station in Guna. It alleges that a woman called Gyarsi Bai Adivasi, a cook at a government school in Baans Kheri, had accused Singh of extorting “Rs 2,000 per month” from her since last September.

Newslaundry called Gyarsi Bai. 

She said, “Who is Jaalam Singh? I don’t know him. I have no enmity with him. My Ladli Behna Yojana money was not coming. I was told through a phone call to come to the police station to give my signature so I could get my money.”

Ladli Behna Yojana is a state government scheme that provides financial assistance to women. 

Gyarsi Bai’s daughter Rukmani told this reporter, “We don’t know Jaalam Singh. I took my mother to the police station saying she wasn’t getting her money under the scheme. We got phone calls from the Miana police station saying if she comes to the station and signs, then she will get her money.”

So, mother and daughter accordingly went to the police station and signed “some papers”. 

Newslaundry asked the superintendent of Miana police station about these claims. He said, “FIRs are registered every day on the complaints of plaintiffs. What can I do about what one says after a case is registered?”

Miana station superintendent says that FIRs are registered there everyday on the complaints of the plaintiffs. What can I do about what one says after a case is registered?

FIR #4

This FIR was registered under section 384 on September 9 at Sirsi police station in Guna. The complainant, Bhagwant Singh Bhadoria, is a private contractor. He filed a complaint saying Singh met him at Sirsi bus station and asked him for Rs 20,000. When Bhadoria refused to give it, Singh purportedly “threatened” to defame him through a news report. Bhadoria then “feared for his reputation” and claimed he gave Singh Rs 5,000.

Bhadoria told Newslaundry he would speak to us “later”. We’re still waiting.

FIR #5

The FIR was filed on September 9 at Guna police station. The complainant, Shishupal Yadav, filed a complaint against an unknown person for a “wrongful post” on Facebook. The case is registered under section 384.

Yadav told Newslaundry he is a member of the BJP and “minister-ji’s activist”, referring to Sisodia.

“A post was made with the intent to blackmail me,” he said. “I was offended by it.”

He didn’t explain what the post contained, or how Singh came to be named in the FIR.

FIR #6

This FIR was filed at Dinara police station on September 9. There are two complainants: Ranbir Yadav, the mandal president of the BJP OBC Morcha, and Vipin Gupta, mandal president of the BJP Yuva Morcha. The complaint is Singh, accusing him of defamation and extortion.

Yadav said he doesn’t remember the case. “My memory is very weak. I don’t remember anything,” he said. “Whatever is written in the FIR, that is it.”

Does he know Singh? “I don’t know any Jaalam Singh,” he said. 

Gupta was unreachable for comment.

FIR #7

The seventh FIR was registered at Aron police station on September 10. The complainant, Anil Kumar Ojha, accused Singh of defamation, extortion and blackmail. He said Singh purportedly WhatsApped him some photographs and threatened to publish them. He “took money” from Ojha and “published the false report” anyway.

Newslaundry has no details on this “false report”. Ojha, the sarpanch of Bandi Kheri village, merely told this reporter that Singh was “blackmailing” him and “has blackmailed many people in this way”.

FIR #8

Registered in Badarwas police station in Shivpuri on September 10, the complaint in the case is Monu Yadav, a member of the BJP Yuva Morcha in Shivpuri. It accuses Singh of “maligning” the BJP, and also of defamation, extortion and threats. The FIR was filed under sections 153, 384, 385 and 469.

Monu Yadav told Newslaundry, “Jaalam Singh published a report against the minister and wanted to blackmail him, so we registered an FIR against him.”

The police version

Rakesh Sagar, the superintendent of police, Guna, said, “I have not reviewed all the cases. But yes, some FIRs were filed in one period. We will see the details.” He agreed that the FIRs were registered only after the Sisodia report was published.

“All this action has been taken at the station level,” Sagar added.

Suresh Acharya, the editor of Dainik Khulasa, pointed out that Singh never named anyone in his report; he’d just written about a viral video.

“The minister didn’t complain himself but had it done by others. He has taken this action by building pressure on the administration,” Acharya alleged. “All the FIRs have been filed without any investigation. No matter, the court will ask for evidence.”

The editor said Singh has been a crime reporter in Guna for “about a year”. “No report here is published without proof,” he said. “Jaalam Singh received threats after printing the report.”

Newslaundry sent Sisodia a questionnaire. This report will be updated if he responds. 

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