Bombay High Court extends interim relief for Arnab till March 5


Maharashtra govt. agrees no coercive action will be taken till then in the TRP scam case.

The Maharashtra government agreed to not take coercive action against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and other employees of ARGOutlier Media Private Limited till March 5 in the alleged television ratings point (TRP) manipulation case.

A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court with Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale was hearing a plea filed by ARG Outlier Media challenging the investigation undertaken by Mumbai Police in the TRP scam.

The court noted that the rejoinder affidavit filed by ARG Outlier was of 105 pages.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Maharashtra government, said, โ€œThere are documents and pleading that were not part of the petition. If they begin arguments, it should be done without relying on the documents. There are so many items that are not part of the petition. I will have to file something.โ€

The court meanwhile extended interim relief till March 5 and adjourned the main petition to be heard on March 16.

The rejoinder affidavit states: โ€œThe investigation by Mumbai Police is guided by unparalleled political vendetta and malicious witch hunt.โ€ It says, โ€œThe Mumbai Police has failed to establish any criminality on the part of the company and Mr .Goswami and the chargesheet filed by the Police does not disclose any incriminating evidence against him.โ€

It also states, โ€œWhile a series of canards have been uttered and spread regarding the Petitioners and its affiliates, there is still not a single shred of wrongdoing or any evidence, at all, that establishes any financial trail of inducement for buying/ manipulation/ doctoring of TRPs by the Petitioners. It is well-settled principle of law that naming a person as โ€˜suspectโ€™ in a chargesheet will inevitably and permanently damage his reputation and tarnish his image in the society.โ€

On October 8, 2020, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had said a TRP racket had been busted, which involved Republic TV, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi. He had said the channels were manipulating TRPs and were involved in distorting the system used by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to rate television channels. About 2,000 barometers are installed in Mumbai to monitor TRPs and BARC was given the confidential contract for monitoring these barometers.

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