After being slammed by the Bombay HC for not being able to produce any evidence against Republic TV and for not naming Arnab Goswami as an accused in the case, the Mumbai Police on Tuesday, named Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami as an accused in the TRP manipulation case.
The Mumbai police’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU), probing the case, reportedly named him in the second chargesheet produced before a magistrate’s court on Tuesday.
Speaking about the development, the lawyer of the Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, Arnab Goswami said: “Among others, Goswami and ARG Outlier have been named as accused in the chargesheet.”
Bombay HC slams Mumbai police for failing to submit evidence against Arnab Goswami and his channel
Interestingly, the Bombay High Court had criticised the Mumbai police in March for failing to submit evidence against Republic even after filing charge sheets. The court noted that there seemed to be no evidence against Republic TV.
“And this FIR is of October 2020. We are in March 2021. We have seen in matters “khichdi pak rahi hai”. Why keep the sword hanging on their head? You are investigating for the last 3 months and you have no evidence against them. Their contention is that they are always in the fear that some action may be taken against them and it seems so from the past action against their employees,” the Court observed.
Why not name Arnab Goswami? asks Bombay HC
Questioning the delay in the investigation, the Bombay High Court also demanded why the petitioners, including Editor-in-Chief of the channel Arnab Goswami or any of the Republic TV journalists, have not yet been named as accused in the matter.
The Bombay HC he observations had come after Republic TV submitted before the court that Mumbai Police have deliberately not named Goswami and others as accused yet, so that they won’t be able to move courts for want of locus to quash the case.
Mumbai Police not naming Republic TV to keep investigation open
Earlier, Senior Advocate Ashok Mundargi, who appeared for ARG Outlier, had alleged that the intention of the entire investigation by the Mumbai Police, working at the behest of the Maharashtra government, is to target Republic TV, despite having information against other channels. He had then said that the Mumbai Police have not yet named Republic or its employees as accused in the charge sheet so that they could keep the investigation open.
Fake TRP scam
On 8th October, Param Bir Singh, the then 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 officials of Hansa Research, the company that works with BARC in meassuring television viewership. Hansa had also complained that they are being harassed by the Mumbai Police to give false statements against Republic TV.