Mumbai: The Mumbai crime branch formally moved a plea to withdraw the case registered in connection with TRP manipulation by news channels, on Tuesday. The case was probed by the now dismissed police officer Sachin Vaze while he was heading the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai crime branch.
The special public prosecutor, Shishir Hiray, moved an application informing the metropolitan magistrate court on Tuesday, about the decision of the state government to withdraw the case. The agency claimed that the decision was taken after the state government found several discrepancies in the probe.
The court, however, after taking the plea on record, has sought to know the reason for which the state had decided to do so and asked the prosecution to satisfy the court on why the plea should be allowed.
The prosecution, in its preliminary submissions, said that there were several discrepancies in the case, specifically the statements recorded by the Mumbai police and statements recorded by the Enforcement Directorate, which had probed the money laundering allegations. Besides, the prosecution said, ideally, the complaint should have been filed by TRAI. The court has now asked the prosecution to argue the plea in detail on Dec 28.
Earlier Case Registered In Oct 2020
The Mumbai crime branch had, in October 2020, registered a case for manipulation of TRPs by some television channels, on a complaint by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). The agency claimed that this was done with the help of employees of Hansa Research Private Limited.
It was claimed that some TV channels, including ARG Outlier Media [owner of Republic TV], a local Marathi channel and other national channels were involved in manipulation of TRPs, to gain more revenue through advertisements.
The Mumbai police had named 22 persons as the accused in their chargesheet filed in November 2020, and the name of Arnab Goswami was also on this list.
ED Submitted Complaint In Money Laundering Case In Sept 2022
The Enforcement Directorate, which probed the money laundering by the channels, had submitted its first complaint in September 2022 and had given a clean chit to Goswami and his Republic channel.
In its complaint, the federal agency had stated that, when it re-examined the households and relationship managers to check for money laundering, they denied having received payments to watch Republic channels. The ED also raised questions on the forensic audit report which was commissioned by the Mumbai police and said the report of the auditor was ‘superficial’. Following the ED probe, the state government had decided to review the case.