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Monday, April 19, 2021

Goswami & ex-BARC CEO had friendly WhatsApp chats: Republic TV counsel tells HC

Senior counsel Ashok Mundargi said the probe aims to arrest Goswami and once he is arrested, the investigation will stop.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 22, 2021 10:25:47 pm
Arnab Goswami paid me $12,000 and Rs 40 lakh to fix ratings: Partho DasguptaPartha Dasgupta and Arnab Goswami. (File Photo)

Arguing that WhatsApp chats between Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta were merely friendly talks, the lawyer for ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd and Goswami on Monday told the Bombay High Court that though Mumbai Police did not name Goswami in the Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation case, the chats were taken out of context by them to harass Goswami and other employees of ARG Outlier.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale on Monday continued hearing a plea filed by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which runs Republic TV, seeking the Mumbai Police’s FIR in the TRP scam case and the chargesheet filed against it to be quashed.

Senior counsel Ashok Mundargi said the probe aims to arrest Goswami and once he is arrested, the investigation will stop.

While responding to the court’s query on the chats between Goswami and Dasgupta as referred to in the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police, Mundargi said, “These chats are the highest evidence. However, please go through the entire chats because the police have taken these chats out of context to build its case.”

“This chat was between two close friends. There is nothing – not one text or one message – which shows that the TRP manipulation was being discussed. They were discussing topics that two friends might ordinarily discuss,” he added.

The court asked chief public prosecutor Deepak Thakare for the state government to take instructions from the police as to when it desires to complete the probe.

“We can understand if there are absconding accused or material from other states are required. But for you (police), entire material is available right here. We want from every agency some limit. Let us not whatever the investigating officer feels, we are not saying four or six weeks,” the bench said.

Seeking response from the police, the court posted further hearing to Wednesday.

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