Mumbai: The Bombay High court said on Monday that Mumbai Police should first issue summons if the investigating officer decides to add the name of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami as an accused in the television rating point (TRP) case.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Mumbai Police, concurred with the suggestion of the bench constituting justices SS Shinde and Makarand Karnik, as that’s what was done with eight Republic TV employees earlier.
The court was hearing a petition filed by ARG Outlier Media Private Limited, owner of Republic TV and R Bharat news channels, seeking quashing of the first information report (FIR) in connection with TRP scam, and for a transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“Mumbai Police, including Param Bir Singh, harbour malice and ill-will against the petitioners as Republic TV and R Bharat have lately been at the forefront in questioning the tardy investigation by Mumbai Police in the Sushant Singh Rajput case and the Palghar lynching incident,” ARG Outlier Media has claimed.
“As a counterblast, a plethora of false and frivolous legal proceedings have been initiated against the petitioners at the behest of the political dispensation in the state of Maharashtra,” the petition stated, adding that the TRP scam probe is a way to harass the news channel and its editor.
Responding to the petition, Sibal said, “what we are investigating is the aspect of money paid to rig television ratings, the practice of paying money to increase TRP for commercial profit,” and that the investigation is unrelated to the Palghar case.
On the suggestion of issuing summons to Goswami, senior advocate Harish Salve, representing ARG Outlier Media, said the former would “honour the summons, if any, issued by the Mumbai Police crime branch… and cooperate with the investigation.”
The high court has set November 5 as the next date for hearing.