12 Feb 2021 1:48 PM GMT
The Bombay High Court, on Friday, adjourned to March 5 the petitions by ARG Outlier media, which owns Republic TV, and its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami challenging the Mumbai Police's investigation in the Television Rating Points (TRP) Scam. The state continued its statement not to take coercive action against the petitioners, till then. On March 5, the division bench of Justices...
The Bombay High Court, on Friday, adjourned to March 5 the petitions by ARG Outlier media, which owns Republic TV, and its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami challenging the Mumbai Police's investigation in the Television Rating Points (TRP) Scam. The state continued its statement not to take coercive action against the petitioners, till then.
On March 5, the division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Naik may hear the media house for an interim order on protection from arrest, if the state refuses to continue protection.
The petitioners, in a 105-page additional affidavit on February 9, told the HC that the investigation carried out by the Mumbai Police against them is guided by an "unparalleled political vendetta and a malicious witch hunt."
During the hearing, on Friday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of the Mumbai Police, submitted that the media house has brought new documents and pleadings on record, which were not part of their original petition and they will now require time to respond to these documents.
"If they begin arguments[today], it should be done without relying on the [new] documents," he submitted.
The court said it would post the case after a few weeks for hearing, due to the work load.
Sibal suggested the matter could be heard through physical hearing as he can't extend his statement for interim protection till March 22.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve said he wouldn't be able to make it for a physical hearing due to a vaccine shot taken just the day before and another coming up after six weeks, but would not hold up the hearing.
"This is a case for me, maybe a commitment for someone else. There will be someone to assist , if I am not there, someone else. I am not the only lawyer on the planet," he said adding that it seems the state's survival depends on this case.
Sibal then asked Savle to refrain from making such remarks. "I know whose survival depends more on this case," he said.
"I am deviating Mr Singh (ASG), but why is vaccination not happening for us also?" Justice Shinde chimed in, observing that looking at the bulk of documents in the case, even the court would prefer a physical hearing.
The case was then adjourned to March 5 for interim protection while the main petition will be heard on March 16 through physical hearing.
The Mumbai Police registered an FIR on October 6, 2020, under sections 409, 420(cheating) & 120B (conspiracy).
The Mumbai Police had claimed that ex- BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta had in alleged connivance with another ex-senior BARC official and Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, manipulated the television rating points (TRP) of Republic TV and its Hindi arm.
Only two employees of Republic TV including its CEO Vikas Khanchandani have been named in the two charge sheets filed, so far. Other accused include Romil Ramgarhia and Partho Dasgupta, former CCO and CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), respectively.
On January 30, the Mumbai police told the Bombay High Court that the investigation conducted so far in the TRP scam case has prima facie indicated collusion between officials of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) and others to manipulate TRP.