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Republic TV playing victim, can’t seek transfer of TRP scam probe: Mumbai police

Transfer of probe even before any conclusive proof against them should be discouraged, police said

NEW DELHI: The Mumbai police has charged that Republic TV, embroiled in the fake TRPs scandal, is trying to play “victim” and attempting to transfer the probe to the CBI while it is not named an accused before the trial court.

The remarks came in a recently submitted affidavit to the Bombay high court in reply to the rejoinder filed by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which runs Republic TV, and other channels in the alleged TRP manipulation case.

Only individuals and personnel of Republic TV have been named as suspects in light of the preliminary investigation, the Mumbai police said.

“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/ chargesheet/ supplementary chargesheet,” the affidavit stated.

The police objected to Republic TV’s demand seeking transfer of probe even before any conclusive proofs against them have been exposed and said that the same should be discouraged. It has sought dismissal of Republic TV’s petition and said that line-by-line explanation of the probe as sought by the petitioners is not possible.

In January, the Mumbai police had claimed that ARG Outlier Media and Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami were carrying out “vendetta” against the police force through their TV channels and that Goswami is “directly interfering and intimidating witnesses by issuing news releases.”

Through affidavits filed before a division bench of justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale, which is hearing a plea by ARG seeking quashing of the FIR, proceedings and chargesheet in the TRP case, the police had denied allegations of “falsely implicating” employees of the petitioner.

The police stated, “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 police said that Republic TV has adopted “vacillating approach” in its rejoinder, claiming that on the one hand, there is no case at all and hence the proceedings/chargesheet against it (Republic TV) should be quashed. However, it also stated that the investigation of the offences is within the domain of TRAI and the investigation ought to be transferred to the CBI, and therefore it shows a contradiction in petitioners’ claims, the police said.

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