TRP manipulation case : Bombay HC asks police to give 3-day notice to Arnab Goswami in case of arrest

The police told the court that it will complete the probe against Republic TV within three months.

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered that the Mumbai Police should give three days prior notice if they want to arrest Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in the TRP scam case. The police told the court that it will complete the probe against Republic TV within three months.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale was hearing a plea filed by ARG Outlier Media — which runs Republic TV and other channels — and Goswami, challenging the police probe, FIR, court proceedings and chargesheets while seeking the transfer of the same to the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other independent agency.

Goswami’s counsel on Tuesday had told the court that the FIR and the chargesheets filed by Mumbai Police were solely intended to target his client for his earlier reportage against the Maharashtra government.

Senior counsel Ashok Mundargi, appearing for ARG Outlier Media,said that while other channels had also been named, the police were only interrogating Republic TV employees and the channel’s role in the case. He added that though the Mumbai Police had been investigating for nearly four months, it has been unable to get any evidence to book the channel or Goswami.

He told the court that while the police had named Goswami and several employees of the ARG Outlier Media as “wanted suspects”, it had no evidence to book them as accused.

The bench had said that the investigation into the case cannot go on forever and the investigating agency must stop at some stage. However, Mundargi submitted that his clients are required to get protection from coercive action pending a hearing. However, state government counsel refused to continue the protection and submitted that the petitioner can move to an appropriate court seeking reliefs in case of emergency.

On Wednesday, chief public prosecutor Deepak Thakare submitted that the investigation will be completed within 12 weeks. The court admitted the petition and said that the state will have to give three-day notice ( excluding holidays) to Goswami in case of arrest in view of ‘serious malafide’ by Police alleged by him.

The court noted that the investigation cannot be stayed right now as there was no clarity on who is the accused and who is not.

Posting the matter for further hearing on June 28, the court directed Goswami to co-operate with the investigation till then.

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