Stop ‘parallel trial’ by Republic TV in TRP scam: Maharashtra to HC

The state on Wednesday sought orders from the Bombay high court to restrain Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV from running a “parallel trial and discussion” on the TRP manipulation scam till the next date of hearing.
State counsel Kapil Sibal submitted that “it would be interference’’ with administration of justice. He said he could cite “any number of judgments where the Supreme Court has deprecated this practice.’’ The HC was hearing a petition by the channel for quashing the FIR registered by the police, and another by Hansa Research alleging police harassment and seeking transfer of the case to the CBI. The HC adjourned the hearing to December 2.
Goswami’s counsel Aabad Ponda said no orders can be passed without a proper application by the state and without hearing him on the state’s plea. The court too agreed with Ponda, who said he would “sincerely convey’’ Sibal’s oral request to his client.
Ponda said the issue of parallel trials or probes was already a subject matter of several petitions filed in courts across the country, including before the Bombay HC Chief Justice’s bench. Ponda also said he would challenge the chargesheet filed by the police on Tuesday. Sibal said, “Every matter of Goswami cannot be fast-tracked like that. What is so special about him? He should file amended petition and give us a few days to reply.’’ Ponda said he would amend the petition filed by ARG Outlier (which runs Republic TV) with new grounds of challenge raised and serve it on the state by Friday.

Sibal said the chargesheet filed on Tuesday was under one of the charges and Hansa Research Group may be called during investigations into the two remaining issues, for which a supplementary chargesheet will be filed later.
The Hansa group again sought orders to limit their presence at the police station to twice a week for a few reasonable hours, as assured before the Diwali vacation. Devadatt Kamat, counsel for the police, said the same process would be followed till December 2. The petition filed by ARG also seeks transfer of investigation to the CBI.

Meanwhile, the sessions court this week granted bail to two accused, Dineshkumar Vishwakarma
(37) and Abhishekh Kolawde (35), as investigations in respect of the two were almost complete.
In a related development, the Karnataka high court on Wednesday granted 20 days’ transit bail to Priya Mukherjee, chief operating officer of Republic TV Network. Allowing her petition, Justice HP Sandesh said when personal liberty of an individual is under threat, the person can seek relief, and Priya Mukherjee has made a case for grant of transit bail for a limited period till she approaches the appropriate forum for grant of regular remedy.
If arrested in the interregnum, she has to be released on furnishing a Rs 2 lakh bond and two sureties for like sum, the court said.

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