The Mumbai Police’s submission in the Bombay High Court in the TRP scam case on Wednesday has given rise to the prospect of Arnab Goswami’s arrest once again. This was after senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Mumbai Police, told the Bombay High Court Bench comprising Justice SS Shinde and MS Karnik that the city police did not want to continue its earlier undertaking to refrain from taking coercive action against the accused in the case.
According to the Livelaw website, the Mumbai Police told the court that it had found more evidence against Republic TV in the TRP scam case. This was after Goswami’s company ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which runs Republic TV channels, approached the high court seeking the quashing of the FIR/charge-sheet in the TRP scam case.
Sibal, however, said that the Mumbai Police could honour its undertaking on not taking coercive actions against the accused till 15 January since the senior lawyer representing ARG Outlier Media Pvt. Ltd. was not available due to a medical emergency.
Sibal, accodring to news agency PTI, told the court, “We (Mumbai Police) have found evidence on record through investigation with BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami. Milords may record my statement that I (police) do not wish to continue my statement. I (Police) have agreed (not to take any coercive action against the accused) because of this extreme emergency.”
The setback to Goswami came after a court in Mumbai rejected the bail plea of the former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC), Partho Dasgupta, and observed that he played a “vital role” in the scam.
Earlier this month, Milind Bharambe, Joint CP Crime of the Mumbai Police, was quoted by Navbharat Times as saying that the police could soon summon Goswami for questioning in the case. Bharambe had held an extraordinary press conference last month to allege that Arnab Goswami was involved in the fake TRP scam, saying that Times Now was dislodged from the number one position by manipulation of data.
Days later, in its remand note, the Mumbai Police alleged that Goswami had paid Dasgupta and Romil Ramgarhia, former COO of BARC, to fudge TV ratings in favour of Republic TV and Republic Bharat. Goswami had allegedly made payments to Dasgupta on multiple occasions, adding that the former BARC CEO used this money to buy expensive items.
Dasgupta is the 15th person to be arrested in the TRP Scam case. Earlier, the Mumbai Police had arrested Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani in the same case. He was later granted bail by a court in Mumbai. Another senior executive of Republic TV, Ghanshyam Singh, too was arrested last month.
Arnab Goswami was earlier arrested in an abetment to suicide case. The Republic TV founder had to spend a week inside a Navi Mumbai jail.