January 16, 2021 12:46:16 am
The Maharashtra government on Friday assured the Bombay High Court that it would not take any coercive action against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and other employees of ARG Outlier Media Private Limited, which runs the channel, till the next hearing in the TRP fraud case.
Following this, the Bombay High Court decided to continue the relief granted to Republic TV employees from coercive action till January 29. Earlier, the relief was granted till Friday.
The HC also took on record a status report filed by the Mumbai Police pertaining to the probe in a sealed envelope. Further, the court permitted parties to the case to approach it by giving notice to the other side, in case of any urgency.
The channel had filed an application seeking to make the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is investigating a complaint related to TRP fraud in Lucknow, a party to the case. The government, however, had “strongly objected’ and sought time to file a reply to the plea.
On Friday, while hearing the pleas by ARG Outlier and Goswami against the probe, the HC was informed by Republic TV’s counsel that the state government is yet to respond to the channel’s plea and that they were apprehensive of the Mumbai Police arresting Goswami and other employees. Hence, they were seeking interim relief restraining the Mumbai Police from making arrests till the next hearing, the lawyer added.
After the state government sought time to file a reply to the channel’s plea, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Maharashtra government, assured that interim protection from coercive action can be extended till the next hearing.
The HC accepted the same and directed the government to file a reply to the plea before the next hearing on January 29.
The division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale also continued an interim relief, directing the Mumbai Police to summon employees of Hansa Research Group – the complainant in the case – for inquiry only twice a week for a “reasonable time” until the next hearing. The company had asked for the probe to be transferred to the CBI.
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