Bombay HC tells Mumbai police not to harass Hansa employees

Hansa's employees will only be called in twice a week till the next date of hearing.

NEW DELHI: Bombay high court told Mumbai police not to harass Hansa Group’s employees by calling them every day to the crime branch. This was in response to a plea moved by the research agency citing harassment faced by its staff allegedly on account of their reluctance to give false statements against Republic TV in the ongoing TRP scam case.

Media reports suggest that the bench of justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik have issued notices in the matter and granted the respondents – namely Mumbai police commissioner Parambir Singh and two other officers – liberty to file their reply. The court has also recorded a statement made on behalf of the police that Hansa's employees will only be called in twice a week till the next date of hearing.

The court will examine the submissions from both sides and added, " the interregnum, you cannot call them (Hansa Research) every day. They are complainants, not the accused."

Hansa Research in its plea alleged that the crime branch officials were pressuring its employees to “retract” a report, based on which Republic TV had claimed it was not among channels named in the TRP scam case. They were repeatedly called to the crime branch and made to wait for hours on end from October 12 onwards. The petition named assistant police inspector (Crime Branch) Sachin Vaze, Mumbai police commissioner Parambir Singh, assistant CP and chief investigating officer Shashank Sandbhor, Maharashtra government and the CBI as respondents.

Read more news on Hansa Research

"This is a unique situation where the first informant in the crime is being harassed by the investigating agency and treated like an accused only for a false statement …petitioners are being used by police and media to attack each other," the plea said.

The petitioners stated that they told crime branch officers repeatedly that they could not confirm or deny the report since they were not aware what the ‘Hansa report’ cited by Republic TV was, as the channel had not sought their permission or informed them about using the report, and only parts of the report were telecast. They said that they will have to see the entire document to ascertain its veracity.

On 6 October, Hansa Research Group lodged an FIR against its employee Vishal Bhandari after he was found allegedly accepting payments illegally to make certain households watch specific TV channels to fudge TRP. Several arrests have been made in the case.

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