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 the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the probe pertaining to the Television Rating Points (TRP) case.
Salve and Singh for Arnab Goswami and the Republic group and ED, respectively, urged the HC to allow the ED to intervene in the channel's 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 adjourned the matter till January 29 and extended the interim protection granted to Goswami and his colleagues from the 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 the city police was "politically motivated" to settle scores with Goswami.
To buttress his contention, Salve said, "The proceedings in this case kickstarted 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 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.
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 expressing the agency's request to submit a status report of their probe into this case. The request was objected to by Sibal on behalf of the 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 the agency's enthusiasm is more apparent." The senior counsel further added, "We are aware of your (Goswami'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.