The Mumbai Police Crime Branch Saturday informed the Metropolitan Magistrate Court that owners and other officials affiliated with Republic Media Network, News Nation and Mahamovie have been named as accused in the alleged TRP scam and are wanted for their role in the case.
The names of these persons were not disclosed. The police informed the court that their roles were ascertained during the interrogation of those arrested in connection with the alleged artificial spiking of TRP numbers.
This is the first time that News Nation and Mahamovie channels have been formally named in the case.
So far, nine people have been arrested. Two of them, Ramji Verma (44) and Dinesh Vishwakarma (37)—both former employees of Hansa Research Group—were again produced in court on Saturday. Arrested on October 20, the duo was Saturday remanded in police custody for two days.
The police also claimed to have learned during interrogations that one Abhishek Kalawade and his accomplices had allegedly accepted money from Republic TV, News Nation and Mahamovie channels. Kalawade is another person wanted in the case.
“They had further distributed the money to the people who are amongst the 1,800 panel homes, so that they watch their channels for maximum time which will help them in increasing their TRP ratings,” said an investigator. “We could establish a link between the arrested accused, witnesses and wanted accused after scrutinising their bank statements.” One Rocky is also named as a “wanted accused”, the police told the court.
Meanwhile, Republic editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami skipped another hearing regarding the TRP case on Saturday.
The next hearing is scheduled for November 7.
On Saturday, two Republic employees — senior associate editor Shawan Sen and executive editor Niranjan Narayanaswami — were questioned at NM Joshi police station. On Friday, they had been booked for allegedly defaming the Mumbai Police and “inciting disaffection” among the police personnel against the Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh.
In a statement, Republic TV’s lawyer said: “There are serious witness coercion charges against Parambir Singh which make it clear that the Mumbai Police is carrying out a vicious campaign against Republic TV and its entire editorial team…”
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