In a dramatic twist, the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police on Sunday begun their grilling of Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani in connection with the TRP scam. Meanwhile, Arnab Goswami’s colleague Pradeep Bhandari has said that he will seek anticipatory bail on Monday after being summoned by the Mumbai Police in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.
Khanchandani arrived at the Crime Branch office for interrogation on Sunday. The Mumbai Police had summoned him and five others namely Republic TV COOs Hersh Bhandari and Priya Mukherjee, channel’s distribution head Ghanshyam Singh, CEO of Hansa Research Group Praveen Nijhara and another employee on Saturday.
Republic TV’s CFO Shiva Subramaniyam Sundaram too was summoned on Saturday but he had skipped the interrogation saying that his employer had moved the Supreme Court and was waiting for the hearing.
In his letter to Shashank Sandbhor, the Assitant Commissioner of Police, Sundaram had written, “I wish to bring to your notice that a Writ Petition under Article 32 has been filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (Provisional Application Number 7848/2020) in relation to the above referred matter and we have requested for an early hearing and it is likely to be listed by next week. Given that the matter is likely to be listed soon before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, request you to not proceed any further with the investigation in so far as Republic TV and its employees are concerned. We will join the investigations subject to the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.”
Meanwhile, Goswami’s colleague Bhandari has said that he would seek an anticipatory bail on Monday after the Mumbai Police summoned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. Amidst rumours that he had gone into hiding to avoice his appearance before the Mumbai Police, Bhandari took to Twitter to write, “…We are moving anticipatory bail tomorrow. I will continue to ask for resignation of Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh who lied in uniform. Fake sections won’t deter me in fight of truth. Whether Bihar or Maharashtra. #RepublicFightsBack #JusticeForSSR.”
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had last week dropped a bombshell by claiming that three channels including Goswami’s Republic TV were involved in TRP scam to boost the television ratings in a bid to boost their advertisement revenue. Singh had hinted that the Mumbai Police may arrest Goswami the same way they had arrested the owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinemas in the same case. Singh ahd also said that Republic TV’s bank accounts could be scrutinised and even seized if ‘proceeds from crime’ were established.
Goswami had reacted angrily saying that he will file a criminal defamation case against Singh, adding that he was being targeted for his coverage against the Mumbai Police and its boss.