The Mumbai Police filed an affidavit with the Bombay High Court on Sunday claiming that Republic TV was trying to play the victim to transfer the probe of the Television Points Rating (TRP) scam from the Mumbai Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
ARG Media Outlier Pvt Limited filed an affidavit in February challenging the criminal proceedings initiated against one of its channels and its employees in the alleged scam that unfolded in October 2020.
In its reply, the Mumbai Police submitted that since Republic TV is not one of the accused, its plea challenging the court’s trial stands null and void. Republic TV’s chief executive officer Vikas Khanchandani, and distribution head Ghanshyam Singh were arrested in relation to the scam in which three channels- Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema and Republic TV- were accused of tampering with the TRPs of their respective channels to increase advertisement revenue.
Owners of the other two channels, along with top officials of the Broadcast Audience Research Council India, were also apprehended for interrogation by the police.
“Merely naming such persons as suspects does not in any manner interfere with any right of such persons, much less a fundamental right. Such action cannot be the basis for quashing an entire investigation/ chargesheet/ supplementary charge-sheet,” Mumbai Police’s affidavit stated.
They said that the powers to quash the FIR/chargesheet or investigation should be exercised with utmost caution.
“Reliance on documents that are not a part of the record of the Trial Court also only ought to be on the basis of unimpeachable documents produced by an accused in the rarest of rare cases,” the affidavit read.
The police further claimed that the media agency’s affidavit was contradictory in its approach for mentioning that there was nothing to conduct a trial against on one hand, and that the investigation falls under the purview of the Television Regulation Authority of India, on the other, and needs to be transferred to the same, stating, “Such averments are all the more undeserving of indulgence in that the petitioners have not been named as ‘accused’ in the chargesheet or supplementary chargesheet…”