The Mumbai Police has targeted Republic TV and its editor Arnab Goswami for their critical coverage of the Palghar Sadhu lynching incident, the Bombay High Court was told on Tuesday. The HC was further informed that the city police has not named either Arnab or the channel in the FIR pertaining to the TRP scam but has labelled them as suspects.
A bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Manish Pitale has commenced hearing the final arguments in the plea filed by ARG Outlier Media group, the parent company of Republic channels seeking to quash all the criminal proceedings in the TRP scam case.
Appearing for the channel and Arnab, senior counsel Ashok Mundargi told the judges that the probe by the city police against the channel and its employees is full of malafide.
Citing the press conference held by Parambir Singh, Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, the senior counsel argued that the prosecution has no material evidence since beginning of the case. "In the press meet called by the Commissioner (Singh), he fed the media that a scam has taken place. He pointed towards Republic channel. This shows the police had no sufficient material to show involvement of our channel or the anchor," Mundargi argued.
"However, the police just wants to frame us by hook or crook. This can be said so as the prosecution in the remand applications against several of our staff has named them as wanted accused but in the chargesheet they have labelled all of us as suspects," Mundargi argued on behalf of the channel's parent company.
At this, Justice Pitale sought to know as to why did the top cop called a press meet. "Is there any obligation on part of the police force to speak to the media? And particularly, why did the commissioner speak to the press on this issue?" the judge questioned.
Meanwhile, Justice Shinde sought to know from Mundargi the "limits" the bench must adapt while hearing the case. "This isn't a final opinion. But yes, we would want to know what if we are of the opinion that the material on record is sufficient for a trial. Then to what extent can this bench interfere with the case," the judge sought to know
The judges would continue hearing the matter on Wednesday morning.