The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a petition filed by ARG Outlier Media Private Limited, which owns the Republic TV, seeking stoppage of coercive actions by the Maharashtra Government and either quashing of all FIRs lodged against the media group, its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and other staff, or the transfer of the FIRS to the CBI.
"This petition is ambitious in nature. You want Maharashtra police not to arrest any employee and transfer the cases to the CBI. You better withdraw this," Justice D Y Chandrachud told senior advocate Milind Sathe, who appeared for ARG Outlier Media.
The Bench, which also comprised Justice Indira Banerjee, made Sathe withdraw the petition, giving Republic TV liberty to take appropriate remedies available under the law. When the counsel said the petition was intended to stop the Maharashtra Police from hounding all those in the media group, Justice Chandrachud said: "You have sought so many reliefs and these can't be entertained in one petition."
The petition had sought a CBI inquiry against the state and its police for lodging several cases against the media group and its employees. It further sought a direction that no editorial or other staff of the group be arrested by the police.The Mumbai Police had registered a case in the alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation scam, which the group has denied. The alleged racket came to light when BARC, an organization which measures TRP, filed a complaint in this regard through Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd, the police had said. Besides this, some other cases are pending in Maharashtra against Goswami, including aiding and abetting a suicide in which a charge-sheet was filed last week.On November 27, the Supreme Court had extended the interim bail of Goswami and two others till four weeks after the Bombay High Court decides their pleas for quashing of an FIR in the 2018 abetment to suicide case, saying that the judiciary should ensure criminal law does not become a weapon for selective harassment.