Republic TV on Monday stated that it will sue Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh for Rs 200 crore for allegedly damaging the company’s reputation by linking it to the TRP scam.
The news channel also added that they will even file a contempt petition against Special Executive Magistrate and the Assistant Police Commissioner, Sudhir Jambwadekar for initiating the chapter proceedings concerning the FIRs which were suspended by the Bombay High Court.
The announcement by the news channel came hours after the Bombay High Court stated that the Arnab Goswami- channel’s Editor-in-Chief had not been arraigned as an accused in the FIR filed by the Mumbai Police. The high court also informed Mumbai Police that Goswami should be summoned if he has to be named as an accused in the case.
The channel in a statement said, “The Maharashtra Government’s admission in Bombay High Court today comes as a huge victory to Republic TV that has consistently maintained there was no malpractice by the Network.” They claimed that the court’s observation was a victory for the channel. It also added that Republic TV is in the process of filing a defamation suit against Singh.
The release by the channel also stated that Singh’s “lie-ridden” campaign against the Republic media network has run unabated especially since Singh’s news conference on October 8. “While Param Bir Singh went on a media overdrive attempting to sully the name of Republic based on vindictiveness instead of evidence, the truth has triumphed once again—and this time reiterated by those in his own quarters of power before a court of law.”
Earlier in October this year, a fake TRP racket was uncovered when the broadcast Audience Research Council filed a complaint via Hansa Research Group alleging that certain TV channels were rigging the TRP numbers. There Republic TV, Marathi Channel Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema were accused of TRP manipulation during the preliminary investigation.
On Thursday, the Broadcast Audience Research Council said that it will pause weekly ratings for news channels for three months and then review its measurement system. This decision was taken amid a row over the alleged TRP manipulation. Additionally, Republic TV’s Executive Editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy and Senior Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor appeared before the crime branch of the Mumbai Police to record their statements over the case.
Meanwhile, on October 12, Mumbai Crime Branch had arrested former Hanas Research employee—Vinay Tripathi from UP who according to the officials played a key role in the scam and had even paid another accused to manipulate ratings. Additionally, owners of Box Cinema and Marathi channel Fakt Marathi, Shirish Shetty, and Narayan Sharma were also arrested. As for Republic TV, its Chief Executive Officer—Vikas Khanchandani appeared for questioning in the case on October 11.
On another note, a parliamentary panel on information technology and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry noted that TRP Measures are not in tune with the current technologies. They were able to observe that the English news space is particularly susceptible to manipulation because of its minuscule size.
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