TRP manipulation case: Republic TV not termed accused, says Mumbai Police
The Mumbai Police, in its affidavit in response to the rejoinder filed by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which runs Republic TV and other channels, seeking to quash the first information report (FIR) and charge sheet against its employees in the alleged television rating points (TRP) manipulation case, has said that the petitioner is trying to portray itself as a victim in other FIRs and attempting to get the probe transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) though it is not named as an accused in the case.
The police also pointed out that the demand of seeking transfer of probe was not justified as no conclusive proof against the accused had been exposed and added that the same should be discouraged, and sought dismissal of the petition. The affidavit also said that line-by-line explanation of the probe as sought by petitioners was not possible and the same should be applied to them as well.
The affidavit filed through Shashank Sandbhor, assistant commissioner of police, criminal investigation department (CID), crime branch, on March 3 before the division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice Manish Pitale which is hearing the petition by ARG Outlier and Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, has refuted allegations of falsely implicating employees of the petitioner. The affidavit was filed in reply to the rejoinder filed by ARG Outlier in February.
The affidavit states, “In the present case, the petitioners, who are not presently accused before trial court, have placed material that is neither unimpeachable in nature, nor is part of record before the trial court. Investigating agencies cannot be called upon to place line-by-line denials, that too in a case where investigation is admittedly ongoing.”
The Mumbai Police said the petitioners were trying to obfuscate the proceedings in the present FIR by diverting the attention of the court to proceedings in other FIRs (the Raigad abetment to suicide case, gathering of migrants outside Bandra station case) which are yet to achieve finality.
Justifying its grievance against the interference by the petitioners, the affidavit states, “Merely naming such persons as suspects does not in any manner interfere with any right of such persons, much less a fundamental right. Such action cannot be the basis for quashing an entire investigation/charge sheet/supplementary charge sheet.”
The affidavit states that the powers to quash FIR or charge sheet or probe ought to be exercised with utmost caution. “Reliance on documents that are not a part of the record of the trial court also only ought to be on the basis of unimpeachable documents produced by an accused in the rarest of rare cases,” states the affidavit.
Refuting claims by ARG Outlier that there was no case, the affidavit states, “On the one hand it states that there is no case at all and hence the petition (proceedings) should be quashed. Then it prays that the investigation of the offences is within the sole domain of Telecom and Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the investigation ought to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.”
The affidavit concludes that in view of the above submissions the petitioners are undeserving of indulgence as they are not named as accused in the charge sheet or supplementary charge sheet, and they are only interested in scuttling the investigations and taking it away from the investigating agency which has jurisdiction on the case.