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TRP scam: Interim relief to Arnab Goswami extended till 16 March.

The scam had come to light in October last year.

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New Delhi: The Mumbai police has told the Bombay high court that its assurance of not taking any coercive action against Republic TV's editor-in-chief journalist Arnab Goswami in the TRP scam case will continue till 16 March, news agency PTI reported on Friday.

The court was hearing a petition filed by ARG Outlier Media, that runs Republic TV channels, which had challenged the FIR and the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police for alleged manipulation of television rating points (TRP).

Appearing on behalf of the Mumbai police, senior counsel Kapil Sibal told a division bench of justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale that the police's earlier statement of no coercive action against Goswami and other employees of ARG Outlier Media will be extended till 16 March.

The case was adjourned for next hearing on 16 March, when the court will hear ARG's main prayers challenging the police's investigation. It has also sought the transfer of probe to an independent agency.

ARG media and Goswami had approached the high court last year alleging that the entire case was malafide, and claimed that they have been targeted for Republic TV's reportage in the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, and the Palghar lynching case.

Early this year, the Mumbai police had filed two affidavits in the case, saying it had not targeted Republic TV or its employees. The police had said its probe was not a result of any political vendetta and that there was evidence to show that Goswami had allegedly connived with senior officials of BARC to rig the TRPs of Republic TV.

The scam had come to light in October last year when Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) lodged a complaint with the Mumbai police through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers. Since then, 15 arrests have been made in the case, the most prominent being former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta, who recently got bail. Dasgupta has been granted bail, subject to his furnishing a bond of Rs 2 lakh.

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