A sessions court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to Republic TV’s chief financial officer (CFO) S Sundaram and two others working with the channel, Ranjit Walter and Shivendu Mulherkar, who are accused in the Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation case. Sundaram is associated with ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which runs Republic TV.
The trio was newly named accused, along with the channel’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, in the supplementary chargesheet filed by the crime branch recently. They were among the seven new accused named in the fresh chargesheet, taking the number of accused in the case to 23.
In separate orders, additional sessions judge Abhishri D. Deo directed that in the event of their arrest, they be released on executing bonds and sureties. The three have been directed to remain present for the investigation as and when required. They have also been prohibited from leaving the country without the court’s permission. The court has stated that violation of any of these and other conditions would lead to cancellation of their bail.
In his plea filed in December last year, Sundaram had told the court that he anticipates arrest in the way the company’s CEO Vikas Khanchandani had faced arrest. The 48-year-old’s plea stated that an attempt is being made to muzzle the media by filing multiple cases against Goswami and the channel’s other employees. The FIR in the case has been registered on politically motivated grounds, he alleged further. He has fully cooperated in the investigation and undergone 45 hours of semi-custodial interrogation at the hands of the Mumbai police in the TRP case, he told the court. The prosecution had told the court during the first hearing in the plea that it would not take coercive action against him till the next hearing and such protection was extended from time to time.