Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani has been granted bail today by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at the Esplanade court in relation to the TRP case. Khanchandani was arrested by Mumbai police on December 13 from his residence. After being remanded to 2-day police custody after arrest he was sent to 14-day judicial custody on December 14.
Judge had expressed disappointment over the manner of arrest of Khanchandani
This comes a day after an Additional Sessions Judge, DE Kothalikar had expressed disappointment over the manner in which Khanchandani was arrested by the Mumbai police a day before the hearing of his anticipatory bail plea. The police had submitted before the Espalande court during remand proceedings that the Republic network carried out transactions worth Rs 15 lakh a month in order to increase TRPs for their Hindi and English channels. The police claimed to have found the said amount in possession of Abhishek Kolawade who was accused of taking money from the channel for increasing their TRPs.
The police alleged that it found after interrogating the Assistant Vice President of ARG Outlier, Ghanshyam Singh, that he was directed to carry out illegal activities to increase the TRPs for their channels by the Chief Operating Officer of the channel Priya Mukherjee who was being instructed by Khanchandani.
Khanchandani’s lawyer said his client’s name not mentioned in the charge sheet
Khanchandani’s lawyer senior advocate Aabad Ponda had opposed his client’s remand contending that Khanchandani’s name or his role was never mentioned in the charge sheet filed by the Mumbai police. Following Khanchandani’s arrest, Republic TV had made an appeal to the courts to intervene to stop attacks on the independent news organisation.
Fake TRP Scam
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bur Singh had held a press conference in October this year informing that Mumbai Police had come across a scam relating to fake TRP. Param Bir Singh had specifically mentioned that Hansa Research had filed a complaint with the police. Interestingly, in this FIR that was filed by Hansa Research, Republic TV was not mentioned even once. The channel that was mentioned several times was India Today.
Despite that, the Mumbai Police is yet to take any action against India Today. It has, however, been hounding senior staffers at Republic TV.