Ratings Scam: Mumbai Cops Fight Republic TV's CBI Probe Plea In Top Court

Mumbai Police is probing Republic TV for allegedly manipulating TRP.

New Delhi:

Mumbai Police has filed an advance affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing a petition filed by Republic TV to transfer the case on alleged rigging viewership ratings scam to the CBI. Republic TV is abusing the process of law by conducting programmes in the case and “intimidating the witnesses”, the police has said in its affidavit filed late last night.

“Republic TV’s demand to transfer the probe to CBI is misconceived. Republic TV wants to thwart the probe into fudging of TRP ratings,” the police said in the affidavit.

“Arnab Goswami (Republic TV’s editor-in-chief) is holding programmes where this case is debated at length and contacting witnesses and interfering and intimidating the witnesses,” it said.

A three-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee will hear the Republic TV’s petition through a video link today.

Mumbai Police also contended the channel’s claim on freedom of speech in its affidavit to the top court. “Freedom of speech right cannot be invoked into an alleged crime. Right under Article 19(1) freedom of speech cannot be a shield against probe,” it said.

The police also said that a number of officials of several channels have been summoned in the case.

“Probe in the case is underway. There is no need for top court to interfere now,” the affidavit said.

Apart from Republic TV, the Mumbai Police is investigating the role of two other channels — Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema — as part of its probe into the alleged manipulation of ratings.

The investigation into the alleged fake ratings case is based on a complaint by Hansa, a private company involved in assessing viewership.

Republic TV – which claims the highest TRPs or Television Rating Points among news channels – has said that it was being targeted for its coverage of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, where they have questioned the role of Mumbai Police.

The channel’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami had said they will sue Mumbai Police for the allegations and that there is “not a single BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) report that mentioned Republic TV”. “The people of India know the truth. BARC has not mentioned Republic in any complaint,” he said.

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