TRP scam: Bombay HC tells cops not to harass Hansa staff

Mumbai: In a respite for Hansa Research Group Private Limited, the complainant in the TRP scam case, the Bombay High Court on Saturday saved its employees from repeated visits to police stations and questioning spanning long hours.

"They are the complainants in the case and not the accused. Ensure that they aren't harassed by anyone including you (police). Call them only twice a week for some reasonable time, as and when required," a bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Makarand Karnik ordered the Mumbai Police and its chief Parambir Singh.

The bench also remarked, "Let's not have a scenario wherein a person is called for questioning and is made to sit in the police station throughout the day." The directives came on a plea by the Hansa Group alleging harassment at the hands of the city cops, particularly two assistant commissioners of police (ACPs), who are investigating the TRP scam. The company petitioned the bench through their counsel C S Vaidyanathan, seeking a stay on the ongoing probe and its transfer to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

"The Mumbai Police is repeatedly coercing our employees to make false and incorrect statements. When we expressed our inability to do so, we were threatened by the police saying they would book our employees in the same offence and arrest them," Vaidyanathan told the bench.

The counsel further alleged that the police have been calling the company's top brass at odd hours for questioning and recording their testimonies. "They detain our officials in the city's crime branch office. We are threatened that if we do not act as per their whims, our officials would be arrested for conniving and working hand in glove with Republic TV," their plea stated. Republic TV and few other channels are being probed for allegedly manipulating TRP ratings. The bench ordered the Maharashtra government, the Mumbai Police and its chief and also the two ACPs to file their say in the matter, who are made as respondents individually.

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