In a major relief to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered Mumbai Police to give a three-day notice before arresting Goswami in the TRP scam case.
According to a report by Live Law, the court admitted Republic TV and Arnab Goswami's petition challenging Mumbai police's investigation in the TRP scam and said that the state will have to give three-day notice (excluding holidays) to Goswami in case of arrest in view of ‘serious malafide’ by Police alleged by him. The police told the court that it will complete the probe against Republic TV within 12 weeks.
The court granted the Mumbai Police time to investigate the other channels in connection with TRP scam case. The court adjourned the case to June 28.
The alleged TRP scam came to light last year after a complaint was filed by an executive of a BARC-affiliated research agency, alleging that the viewership data was being manipulated by some of these channels through contractors associated with the agency.
The Mumbai Police had earlier filed a supplementary chargesheet in the fake TRP scam case that included extensive purported chats, which were also leaked on social media, causing huge uproar.
On Monday, Arnab Goswami's lawyer told the Bombay High Court that the Whatsapp chat between Republic TV's editor-in-chief and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta were merely chats between two close friends that had nothing to do with TRP manipulation.
The submission was made by senior advocate Ashok Mundargi, the counsel for Goswami and ARG Outlier Media, the company that runs all Republic TV channels.
Mundargi was responding to the court's query on what was the most clinching evidence cited by the Mumbai police's crime branch in the chargesheet in the TRP scam.
"The highest evidence is these chats. However, please go through the entire chats because the police has taken these chats out of context to build its case," Mundargi said.
He then read out some of the WhatsApp chats between Goswami and Dasgupta and told the court that the two had merely been discussing some "persons, market trends" etc.
"This chat was between two very close friends. There is nothing, not one text, or one message, which shows that TRP manipulation was discussed. They were discussing topics that two friends might ordinarily discuss," Mundargi said.
(With inputs from PTI)