The Bombay High Court, while hearing a habeas corpus petition moved by Republic TV Editor in chief Arnab Goswami seeking revocation of the 2018 abetment of suicide case in which he has been arrested, briefly heard Hansa Research Group Private Ltd, the original complainant in the TRP manipulation case, which has filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court against Senior officer Sachin Vaze, Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and the state of Maharashtra.
When the hearing commenced in the HC today, one lawyer requested the bench that the case filed by Hansa Research against TRP scam FIR may be taken up first. As the bench gave permission, Senior Advocate C S Vaidyanathan appearing in the Hansa petition apprised the court that Hansa employees are being summoned by the Mumbai police and being coerced to give false statements against Republic TV.
The lawyer representing Hansa furthered that the company’s aim behind filing a complaint was to simply unearth the TRP scam and it was not against any particular channel, insinuating that the Mumbai police has given it a completely different direction to the case in order to settle its scores with the Republic TV.
However, they are now being forced to appear and give statements against Republic TV, alleged Vaidyanathan.
We only filed a complaint to unearth the TRP scam. It was not against any particular channel. Now I am being forced to appear and give statements against Republic : Vaidyanathan for Hansa.#ArnabGoswami— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) November 6, 2020
Furthering that his client (Hansa Research Group Private Ltd) cannot be compelled to implicate anyone, Advocate C S Vaidyanathan said that they were ready to share any proof of evidence with the Mumbai police. “If they want any documents let them issue summons under Sec 91 CrPC”, said Vaidyanathan.
Placing these arguments before the two-judge bench Senior Advocate C S Vaidyanathan appearing in the Hansa petition sought an independent investigation by CBI or any other agency into the TRP manipulation case.
Vaidyanathan(for Hansa) : I am seeking independent investigation by CBI or any other agency. I cannot be compelled to implicate anyone. If they want any documents let them issue summons under Sec 91 CrPC.#TRPScam#ArnabGoswami— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) November 6, 2020
Asking the State to take instructions on Hansa petitions, the bench after this went back to hearing the habeas petition of Arnab Goswami, which too has now been adjourned until tomorrow.
The company which operates the Bar-O-Meters of BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council), has moved the Bombay High Court seeking transfer of the probe into the case from Mumbai Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The company has said that Mumbai police is putting pressure on them to declare that the document displayed by Republic TV claiming to be Hansa Research report on the TRP scam is fake. They have said that their officials are being threatened with detention if they don’t give this false statement alleging Republic TV is showing a fake document.
The petition has been moved by Hansa group Director Narasimhan K Swamy, CEO Praveen Omprakash and Nitin Kashinath Deokar. It says that it has already explained to the Mumbai police that it is in position to adjudge whether the document shown by Republic is genuine or not. They have said that Republic never applied to them for a copy of the report, and the channel has shown only extracts of the document. The petition filed by Hansa also says that their officials are being questioned without written notice, and they are given no time to produce documents.
The company has informed that since October 12 onwards, Hansa Research employees have been repeatedly called to the Crime Branch office and made to wait for hours, and they have been questioned for over 200 hours, only to make them issue a false statement.
The company says that its employees have been harassed by Mumbai Police because they declined to give a false statement against Republic TV by saying that the channel had displayed a fake document.
Mumbai police Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh, Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze and ACP Shashank Sanbhlor have been named as respondents in the petition.