Days after Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh falsely tried to implicate Republic TV and its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in the alleged TRP scam, the Mumbai police have now reportedly demanded all financial transactions from the media network.
Republic TV reported that the Mumbai police Crime Branch has sought details of every financial transaction made by the channel in the past 4 years. Meanwhile, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sundaram S have been asked to submit the details at the police station. Despite being well aware that collecting information of such transactions may take months, the Mumbai police have provided just 12-hour window to Republic TV for submitting the details.
As per Republic TV, the fresh demand for financial transactions is a part of the witch-hunt of the Mumbai police against the news network, carried out on the behest of the Maharashtra government. The channel has claimed that the cops have sought for petty and trivial transactions including the cost of toilet paper, coffee vending machines, makeup kits, stationery, furniture and so on.
#RepublicWitchhunt | 4 years of transactions sought in 12 hours as witch-hunt crosses all limits; stand in opposition to this; Fire in your views and watch #LIVE here – https://t.co/rGQJsiKgt2 pic.twitter.com/1yGzCeVGIC— Republic (@republic) October 23, 2020
Republic TV issues statement against Mumbai Police’s diktat
In a statement issued by the channel, Republic TV has called out the blatant attack on press freedom by the Mumbai police. It stated, “Republic Media Network has now been issued a Section 91 notice by the Mumbai Police to submit details of every single transaction the organisation has entered into ever since its inception. As part of the ongoing witch-hunt against Republic Media Network by the Mumbai Police led by Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, preposterous details of our financial, contractual and transaction details have been sought.”
The channel further added, “The CFO of the Republic Media Network on 22 October 2020 was issued a notice under Section 91 of the CrPC whereby details of “valuation report”, “ledger copies”, “trade receivables”, “broadcasting expenses”, “employee benefit expenses”, “promotion expenses” amongst others have been sought. This effectively means from electricity bills to editing machine expenses, to details of provident funds of employees, to details of loans issued to employees for medical emergencies, the cost of cameras, cost of studio maintenance, the cost of purchasing hand sanitizers, carpeting costs in the office – every single ledger and expense detail has been sought.”
#RepublicWitchhunt In a brazen, blatant & shocking attack on press freedom by Mumbai Police, Republic Media Network has been issued notice to submit details of every transaction since inception & list every single journalist & employee. We will fight each & every strongarm tactic pic.twitter.com/qvG8ZlqWt6— Republic (@republic) October 23, 2020
While calling out the brazen attack, Republic TV pointed out how the Mumbai Police had sought details of every employee and journalist working for the media channel. “This an overt attempt to harass a news organisation, infringe on its operations and bring back the Emergency-era way of functioning. There is a clear and motivated attempt by the Mumbai Police to target Republic Media Network which has been falsely named in the TRP scam case,” the channel said.
“Republic Media Network will stand tall amidst the pressure tactics. Republic Media Network will continue to put the news first, the truth first and the nation first. We shall fight every strong-arm tactic in the court of public opinion and the courts of law,” the news channel concluded.
Mumbai Police threatens Republic TV Executive Editor with imprisonment
Earlier, Republic TV informed that their executive editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy was questioned by Mumbai Police for almost 9 hours on 21st October. The network says that he was threatened with imprisonment repeatedly for his decision to not reveal the source of the Hansa report. Niranjan revealed that he was warned that he will be booked under sections 174 and 179 of the IPC if he refuses to divulge the source of the report by Hansa Research, but Niranjan refused to divulge the source.