Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday witnessed a dramatic hearing with senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Harish Salve and ASG Anil Singh arguing at their high pitches regarding the involvement of Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the probe pertaining to the TRP scam.
While Salve and Singh for Arnab and Republic group and ED respectively, urged the HC to allow ED to intervene in the channels' pleas to quash the FIR in the case. The Mumbai Police through Sibal urged the bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Manish Pitale not to make ED a party in the case.
The judges, however, adjourned the matter till January 29 and extended the interim protection granted to Arnab and his colleagues from Republic group from any coercive action by the city police.
When the matter was called out for hearing through video conferencing, Salve told the judges that ED is a necessary party to the matter since it has carried out an independent probe. He alleged that the probe by city police was "politically motivated" only to settle scores with Arnab.
To buttress his contention, Salve said, "The proceedings in this case kick-started with a press conference address by the city's top cop with a glee on his face against my client."
"First the city police starts in investigating BARC then proceeds to probe my client and his channel. Their (Mumbai Police) probe has been drifting off into areas where they have no jurisdiction," he added.
Further, Salve pointed out that the city police is probing the case under the provisions of the Telegraph Act but the same law doesn't grant any jurisdiction to the Police to probe this matter.
"It is my case that if the ED's findings are different from the Mumbai Police then it is obvious that the latter has a malice against my clients," he argued.
His submissions followed with ASG seeking to intervene in the matter and expressed the agency's request to submit a status report of their probe into this case.
The request was vehemently objected to by Sibal on behalf of Mumbai Police, saying, "The ED has no role at all in this case."
Referring to Salve's submissions, Sibal said, "We (Police) have strong objections to the ED appearing in this case. We fail to understand why is the agency's enthusiasm more apparent."
The senior counsel further added, "We are aware of your (Arnab's) dishonesty and the ED's honesty."
At this, Salve told the judges that it is shocking that a state police is accusing or rather questioning the honesty of a central agency.
The judges then adjourned the matter till January 29, with a directive that no coercive action would be taken by Mumbai Police against Republic TV or Arnab and that it would call the employees of Hansa Group only twice a week for a reasonable time to interrogate them.