Arnab Goswami Will Cooperate If Summons Are Issued: Bombay High Court in TRP Scam Case
The Bombay High Court said that if Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami is proposed to be addressed as accused, Mumbai Police would first issue summons to him.
Republic TV moved the Bombay High Court
After the Supreme Court declined its plea, the channel approached the Bombay High Court. In the ongoing TRP case, Republic TV is one of the three channels accused by Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh of manipulating the ratings.
Intense arguments took place during the hearing
During the hearing at the Bombay High Court, intense arguments took place between Senior Advocate Harish Salve who appeared for Republic TV and Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal who appeared for the State of Maharashtra.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve and Milind Sathe challenged the case being investigated by the Mumbai Police. They stated that no offence was made out by the police, and claimed mala fide action with an attempt to suppress the petitioners’ voice.
Salve said that if a probe has to be conducted, it should not be done by the Mumbai Police, who, he said, was biased against the petitioners. He also submitted that the petitioners would cooperate with the investigation.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal highlighted this aspect while arguing that Republic TV's petition was premature.
Sibal argued, "There is no mention of Republic TV in the FIR. So how can it be quashed? The FIR relates to an offence allegedly committed in relation to which several improprieties and illegalities by several may be found. That investigation is still in the nascent stage."
Salve, however, stood ground that the case is based on malafides, specifically highlighting that the Mumbai Police Commissioner, in a press release, had specifically made allegations against Republic TV.
Sibal rebutted that the press interview did not refer to Goswami in particular, and that only Republic TV was mentioned. The observation drew a sharp response from Salve, who commented,
"When Republic TV runs a bad show, Arnab Goswami is to blame. But if Republic TV is accused, then 'who is Arnab Goswami?' Very nice!"
Sibal, however, went on to assert that there is no need to grant any interim relief in the matter. He added that the Court may only stick to recording that if summons are issued in the matter to Goswami, he should cooperate with the authorities.
Police will have to issue summons
The Court observed that in case there is any urgency, Republic TV would be at liberty to make a mention before the Bombay High Court. The Court stated in case Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami is named an accused in the case filed over alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRPs), he would first be issued summons by the Mumbai Police.
The Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik noted in such a scenario, it is unlikely that Goswami would be arrested before the next hearing, fixed for November 5.
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