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Maharashtra govt orders withdrawal of TRP case filed against Arnab Goswami

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The controversial TRP manipulation case in which Republic TV led by Arnab Goswami was charge-sheeted by the Mumbai police is being withdrawn by the government. Based on the orders of the government, the public prosecutor for Mumbai police crime branch has filed an application before the Esplanade court to withdraw the case on the grounds that they don’t see criminal offence in the case and it is considered just regulatory violations.

The application is being moved under section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). “Based on the orders of the government an application has been moved before the court concerned to withdraw the entire case. The government has power when it reaches the conclusion that the offence alleged is not in the scope of the Indian Penal Code and there are serious flaws in the investigation carried out earlier,” a senior officer of Mumbai police told mid-day on the condition of anonymity.

Arnab Goswami at N M Joshi Police station in 2020. File pic

The officer said that it will now be the court’s discretion to accept or reject the withdrawal application, but in most cases the courts go by the application submitted by the prosecutor. “If the court finds serious violation in withdrawal of the case then it would reject the application and proceed with the trial,” said the officer. According to a source, the state government has been examining the much-hyped case of TRP manipulation registered during the Maha Vikas Aaghadi (MVA) regime. The TRP case was investigated by assistant police inspector Sachin Waze, said to be a close confidante of the then Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. Both Waze and Singh later courted controversies.  Waze was arrested in the Antilia bomb scare case and Singh was named in several cases. It was said that Goswami was targetted by the MVA as he was running anti-government stories which were not based on facts.

Several spokespersons of MVA had said that Goswami was running an agenda on the behalf of BJP to malign the image of MVA. In October 2020, Singh conducted a press conference claiming that TRP ratings are manipulated by the leading news channels including the Republic TV headed by Goswami. However, Republic TV was not named as an accused in the FIR. Other channels named by Singh in the press conference were Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi. 

Singh claimed that the channels including Republic TV were manipulating the TRP by bribing Partho Dasgupta, CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). The Mumbai police crime branch has filed two supplementary charge sheet against 13 accused including Goswami and some of his employees under several sections of IPC including cheating, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence. It was also alleged that the households which had received Bar-O-Meters by the BARC were being paid to watch only certain channels so the channels of the accused persons could get higher ratings. Higher TRPs attract a higher rate of advertisements and thus generate more revenue for the news channels.

source by: Mid Day News

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