The Bombay high court asked the Mumbai Police to issue summons to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami if he is proposed to be addressed as an accused in TRP Scam.
The Bench has also directed in TRP Scam, the authorities to submit investigation records for the Court’s perusal by November 4. The case is likely to be heard next on November 5 at 3 pm.
During the course of the hearing, the Court also orally observed that in case there is any urgency, Republic TV would be at liberty to make a mention before the Bombay High Court.
Republic TV is one of the three channels accused by Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh of manipulating the ratings in TRP Scam.
The police has filed a First Information Report (FIR), but the court said they first need to issue summons to Goswami. The case is being heard by a bench comprising Justice SS Shinde and MS Karnik.
During the course of the hearing, Goswami’s counsel Harish Salve said in TRP Scam that his client will appear before the police if summoned. Salve also assured the court of full cooperation from Goswami’s side.
the Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik noted that Republic TV has not yet been arrayed as an accused in the Mumbai Police FIR. Appearing for the State of Maharashtra, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal also highlighted this aspect while arguing that Republic TV’s petition was premature.
“There is no mention of Republic TV in the FIR. So how can it be quashed? The FIR relates to an offence allegedly committed in relation to which several improprieties and illegalities by several may be found. That investigation is still in the nascent stage”,.Sibal argued
Salve, however, stood ground that the case is based on malafides, specifically highlighting that the Mumbai Police Commissioner, in an press interview, had specifically made allegations against Republic TV.
Sibal rebutted in lieu of TRP Scam that the press interview did not refer to Goswami in particular, and that only Republic TV was mentioned. The observation drew a sharp response from Salve, who commented,
“When Republic TV runs a bad show, Arnab Goswami is to blame. But if Republic TV is accused, then ‘who is Arnab Goswami?’ Very nice!“
Sibal, however, went on to assert that there is no need to grant any interim relief in the matter. He added that the Court may only stick to recording that if a summons is issued in the matter to Goswami, he should cooperate with the authorities.
On the Court also opining that in such scenario, there is no question of Goswami being arrested, it proceeded to record Salve’s submission that in case a summons is issued, the petitioner would cooperate with the authorities.