After questioning several office-bearers of the Republic Media network, the Mumbai crime branch on Wednesday questioned two senior editors of the channel in the alleged TRP manipulation racket. The channel's senior executive editor Abhishek Kapoor and executive editor Niranjan Narayanswami were called on Wednesday before the crime branch to record their statement.
Narayanswamy reached the crime branch officer around 12 noon while Kapoor who based in Delhi arrived at around 4 pm. They were then questioned for several hours.
According to the police, on October 10 when they unearthed the scam, the same night the Republic TV aired a document that purportedly belonged to Hansa Research Group. Hansa Research Group is yet to certify the document to be theirs, said the crime branch officer.
The police also claimed that a telephonic interview of the witness was aired during the show. However, it was not the right practice to do so, when the matter was still under an investigation, said an officer on the request of anonymity.
In their summons to the executive editors, Mumbai police said that there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are acquainted with certain facts and circumstances of the said document which purportedly belonged to Hansa Group, and the same is required to be ascertained. It is necessary to record their statements in this matter, stated police in the summons.
In a tweet, Republic TV said, "Senior Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor reaches Crime Branch after being summoned. Republic Media Network will not yield by revealing sources." In another tweet, the news channel said, "Republic Media Network stands with our Executive Editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy & Senior Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor. Republic stands wholly for the right of the media to report and protect its sources."
The Mumbai crime branch investigating the case has already taken statements from office-bearers of the Republic Media network and that of several advertising agencies. Police have also arrested five accused so far for their alleged involvement in manipulating TRPs of channels by bribing the households where sampling meters were installed to calculate TRP. The accused included owners of Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi channels along with ex-employees of Hansa Group who have also been arrested in the case.
Meanwhile, the accused Vinay Tripathi who was arrested from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh will be produced before the court on Thursday along with four others whose police custody ends on Thursday.