The Khar Police have issued summons to the consulting editor of Republic television channel, Pradeep Bhandari, for allegedly assembling a crowd outside Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut's house at the time of its demolition last month.The summons to Bhandari have come a day after Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh revealed that Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami's television channel was one of the three channels involved in a "false Television Rating Points (TRP)' racket. Abhishek Trimukhe, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 9), confirmed the development to The Free Press Journal and said that Bhandari is likely to be questioned in the matter. Meanwhile, Bhandari tweeted that he had been asked to appear before Mumbai Police at Khar and was awaiting the official summons.
According to sources, on September 9, when the BMC sent a squad to demolish an unauthorised structure in Ranaut's Pali Hill bungalow, a crowd had gathered to protest against the civic action. The protesters gathered outside the bungalow in a show of solidarity with the actor, which led to 15 people being detained, including women, who were then taken to the police station. The police said that Bhandari's statement in the matter was crucial as he too had been named by a few locals, and there was a possibility he could have incited the protesters.
On Thursday, the Mumbai police chief sent shockwaves across news channels with claims of having busted a fake TRP racket, mentioning the alleged involvement of Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema. The crime branch sleuths have already arrested four people -- two former employees of Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd -- Vishal Bhandari, 20, and Sanjiv Rao, 45, along with the owners of Fakt Marathi, Shirish Shetty, 44, and Narayan Sharma, 47, of Box Cinema. The owners and promoters of Republic TV are likely to be called for questioning, too, said police. These channels have allegedly indulged in such malpractices as buying of TRP.
Rebuffing Mumbai Police's claim, the Republic Media Network had said in a press statement on Thursday, "Singh has made false allegations against Republic TV as they have questioned him in Sushant Singh Rajput's (SSR) case investigation and they will file a criminal defamation case against Singh".