The Maharashtra government Tuesday gave an assurance to the Bombay High Court that it would not act against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and other employees of ARG Outlier Media Pvt. Ltd till Wednesday, the next date of hearing.
The Bombay High Court accepted the statement, and said it would hear the TV channel’s plea seeking quashing of the Mumbai Police’s FIR and chargesheet in the TRP scam fraud case tomorrow.
The division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik was Tuesday told by Senior Counsel Aabad Ponda that they were apprehensive of Mumbai Police arresting Goswami and other channel employees, and hence sought an interim relief till next hearing in the case.
Ponda argued that as per a certain clause in the chargesheet, the form filed by the police seeking arrest of any employee of Republic TV was not valid, as the Supreme Court had deemed the form illegal.
Chief Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare opposed Ponda’s arguments, saying the channel could not seek a ‘blanket order’ restraining the police from arresting any of its employees. He further said Republic TV’s demand was not maintainable as the channel officials the Mumbai Police intended to arrest were not parties in the pleas and hence the court could not grant them any relief.
However, Ponda said the chargesheet, besides the name of the channel and its editor, also mentioned ‘sambandhit vyakti ( related persons)’, and therefore all employees of the channel could seek relief.
Ponda added he had been informed that the Mumbai Police had reached Delhi to arrest Goswami, and hence there was an urgent need for the court to intervene till both the parties are being heard.
After the court asked Thakare to seek instructions, he said no coercive action would be taken against the persons referred to in the chargesheet till December 16.
Meanwhile, a magistrate court in Mumbai on Tuesday remanded Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani, who was arrested in the TRP case on December 13, in judicial custody for 14 days. Moreover, the Mumbai Police assured the sessions court that it would not arrest Republic TV CFO S Sundaram in the case till December 21.