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Witch-hunt continues: After Arnab being dragged and jailed, Mumbai Police arrests Republic TV’s Assistant VP

"Ghanshyam has personally been through over 40 hours of semi-custodial interrogation, and his current detention crafts a new low in the highhanded tactics of the law and order machinery in the state of Maharashtra which is functioning unchecked", the TV channel has stated.

The relentless attack on Republic Network continues as the Mumbai Police has now arrested Assistant Vice President of Republic Media Network Ghanshyam Singh today at 7:40 AM in connection with the TRP Scam. As of now, editor-in-Chief of Republic Network Arnab Goswami is on the 7th day of judicial custody in a reopened 2018 case of abatement of the suicide of an architect that was closed by the court.

As per a statement released by Republic TV, Ghanshyam Singh heads Republic Media Network’s Western Region Distribution. He had been questioned over 45 times to date in the TRP scam case. As per the reports, Singh has fully cooperated with the Mumbai police in the investigation, submitted all documents demanded by the police, and answered all questions to his best knowledge and ability. The statement says that the police had interrogated him for more than 40 hours over the period.

Statement by Republic TV

In a brazen misuse of power, Republic Media Network’s Assistant Vice President Mr. Ghanshyam Singh was arrested this morning at 7:40 am by the Mumbai Police. Republic Media Network is shocked at the unchecked malicious campaign of the Mumbai Police that is determined to falsely target and desperately implicate Republic and its members. It is clear this is part of the same vendetta-driven, vengeful and motivated campaign of the Maharashtra state machinery that assaulted and arrested Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.

As Arnab Goswami spends his 7th day in judicial custody and Ghanshyam Singh is arrested on baseless grounds, there has never been a more terrifying state of affairs vis-a-vis the elected machinery exploiting its offices and violating due process to clamp down on an independent media organisation. History is witness to the state excesses being deployed in Maharashtra and shall not forgive or forget those who exercised it.

Mr Ghanshyam Singh who heads Republic Media Network’s Western Region Distribution has continuously cooperated with the Mumbai Police in the case. In fact, in the spirit of cooperation even in a fake and hollow case, he continually appeared before the Mumbai Police on numerous occasions. He has cooperated throughout and answered all questions of the police to the best of his knowledge and ability. Ghanshyam has personally been through over 40 hours of semi-custodial interrogation, and his current detention crafts a new low in the highhanded tactics of the law and order machinery in the state of Maharashtra which is functioning unchecked.

Ghanshyam has been booked under frivolous sections in a fake TRP manipulation case, which itself doesn’t stand vis-a-vis the evidence. It is significant to reiterate that despite Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s October 8th news conference on the TRP matter, neither he nor the Mumbai Police has been able to present a single piece of hard evidence linking Republic Media Network to the TRP scam. Therefore, Ghanshyam’s arrest, like Arnab’s illegal arrest, is born out of prescripted vendetta instead of evidence and facts.

The entire TRP case against Republic has been concocted on the basis of an FIR that names another channel. It is well known that a document by complainant Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd names the same channel which is in the FIR and not Republic. Additionally, it is now in the public domain and before a court of law that Hansa has filed a case that alleges the Mumbai Police Commissioner, Sachin Vaze and the state of Maharashtra were harassing the top brass of the company to implicate Republic Media Network in the TRP case.

While there is no link between Republic TV or any of its affiliates with the TRP manipulation case, there is a mountain of evidence— from testimonies to witness coercion tapes— that indicates the vicious plot to embroil Republic in a fake TRP manipulation case that it has no connection or relation to.

Republic Media Network and the people recognise that all such acts of malice are aimed to throttle the network, its news coverage ability and thereby attempt to mow down any semblance of a free press in the state of Maharashtra. Coercive methods, illegal arrests, baseless detentions and overtly false cases will not stop Republic from doing its journalistic duty, or from fighting against this anarchy in the courts of law and courts of public opinion.

We appeal to right-thinking citizens to raise their voice and continue their campaign for justice.

Like the truth, we stand firmly with Ghanshyam Singh and Arnab Goswami and will continue to fight for justice to prevail.

The so-called TRP scam allegations against Republic TV

On 8th October, Param Bir Singh, Mumbai Police Commissioner, said in a press conference that several channels have indulged in malicious practices to increase their TRP ratings. He alleged that Republic TV is one of the main accused. The complaint was filed by the Hansa group that regulated the devices to record TRP for BARC.

However, the initial FIR did not name Republic TV but named India Today network as one of the main suspects. During the investigation, several evidence and witnesses came forward that alleged Mumbai Police have been intimidating them to speak against Republic TV, including Hansa officials. Hansa has also complained that they are being harassed by the Mumbai Police to give statements against Republic TV.

Republic TV has been facing the ire of the Mhaarashtra governmnet after they started questioning the political powers in the state for their inaction in Palghar lynching case and Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide case. In recent times, the Maharashtra Assembly even tried to bring a privilege motion against the channel and Goswami. Supreme Court had to intervene to put a stop to it.

The arrest of Arnab Goswami

Arnab Goswami was arrested on 4th November from his residence in a reopened case of abatement of suicide of an architect named Anvay Naik. The case was closed by the court after the police filed a closure report, but in May 2020, the Home Minister of Maharashtra announced that the case would be reopened. Since his arrest, Arnab Goswami has been lodged in jail under judicial custody. He was shifted recently to Taloja jail, where hardcore criminals are spending their sentences. Goswami has alleged that Mumbai police officials, including the jailer, have assaulted him on several occasions, and was forced to drink some unknown liquid after which he choked.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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