Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the Mumbai Police to give advance notice of three days to Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami if it wanted to arrest him in the television rating point (TRP) scam case.
A bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale also accepted the statement made by the Maharashtra government that the probe against Republic TV, other employees of ARG Outlier Media, which runs all Republic TV channels, and other television channels, will be completed within 12 weeks.
The court was hearing a bunch of pleas filed by Goswami and ARG media seeking several reliefs in the case. The petitioners had claimed the crime branch of the Mumbai Police had no evidence against them, but it was prolonging the probe by merely naming them as suspects in the chargesheet.
In the last hearing on Monday, the court told the police that it could not go on investigating for months without naming someone as accused in a case. Citing the material on record, the court felt that the police did not have anything substantial against Goswami in the case.
The petitioners’ counsel Ashok Mundargi had urged the high court to protect Goswami and other ARG employees named as suspects in the chargesheet from any coercive action till the time the probe is on.
On Wednesday, while the bench directed the police to give a prior notice of three days to Goswami if it chose to summon or arrest him in the case, it said such relief cannot be granted to several unnamed employees in the petition, who were merely suspects and not accused. The HC said Mundargi’s request for a stay on the investigation could not be granted as there was “no clarity on who was the accused and who was not”.
“If during the course of the investigation, you come across something and you want to take coercive action against petitioner number 2, then you will give 72 hours’ prior notice [to Goswami],” the bench said.
The high court will continue hearing the arguments on June 28, 2021.