ResearchResearchThe Bombay High Court on Friday heard the writ petition filed by Hansa Research Group against Mumbai police alleging pressure and intimidation tactics being used specifically by Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze and his team of Crime Branch to make false statements against Republic TV in the TRP Scam case.
Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan appeared on behalf of Hansa and submitted before the bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik that officers of the petitioner company are being repeatedly summoned by Mumbai police and forced to give statement before them against Republic TV. He said-
"We only filed a complaint to unearth the TRP scam. It was not against any particular channel. Now I am being forced to appear and give statements against Republic TV. I am seeking independent investigation by CBI or any other agency. I cannot be compelled to implicate anyone. If they want any documents let them issue summons under Sec 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure."
The bench directed Chief Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare to take instructions on the petition filed by Hansa and kept back the matter. Meanwhile, the bench continued to hear the habeas petition of Arnab Goswami challenging his arrest on November 4 by Raigad police in 2018 case of abetment to suicide. Thereafter, due to paucity of time, the matter could not be taken up today. Justice Shinde expressed regret to Sr Adv CS Vaidyanathan for being unable to hear him yesterday as well and asked him to appear tomorrow.
FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint filed in the case by Nitin Deokar, who is currently Deputy General Manager at Hansa Research Group. According to the complainant, they along with BARC are constantly monitoring for any wrongdoing to influence viewers to watch a particular channel to boost the viewership data of that channel. During investigations by the Vigilance Team of BARC with the help of the petitioners, it was found that one Vishal Bhandari, ex-employee of Hansa Research was inducing the viewers to watch some particular channels. Thereafter, a complaint was filed at Kandivali police station on October 6.
Hansa has averred that in order to prepare the said complaint, the BARC Vigilance Team along with them had prepared an internal document as a draft detailing the facts of this case. This document was not shared by them with anybody but the Vigilance Team of BARC. However, Arnab Goswami and other anchors on Republic TV had repeatedly referred to and displayed a document on the air calling it the 'Hansa Report.'
Last month, the City Civil and Sessions Court rejected Hansa Group's request to restrain Republic TV from referring to their 'internal report', popularly known as the 'Hansa Report'. Court refused to grant relief stating that the said report was already in public domain.
Alleging tremendous pressure from Mumbai police, the petition states-
"All the harassment that has been caused to the petitioners by Sachin Vaze is only with the view to extract a statement albeit false, from them that the above said Hansa Report shown on Republic TV is not that of petitioners but a fake one. Whereas it is a fact that petitioners have repeatedly explained to Sachin Vaze and his team that it is not clear to them what this purported Hansa Report claimed by Republic TV in its telecast is, as till date Republic TV has neither sought any permission from the petitioner for using something they are calling as 'Hansa Report' in its telecast nor have they shared what the said document is."