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Fake TRP case: State vs Republic

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Mumbai Police is probably going through one of its most difficult times. Not because it was not able to solve a terror plot or any issue of national concern. It has tied itself into knots it cannot come out, by trying to ‘fix’ Republic without any credible evidence so far.  The malicious investigation is fast turning into dirty, directionless investigation.

When an FIR was filed regarding alleged TRP scam, it appears the Mumbai Police Commissioner found an ‘opportunity’ to go against Republic, called for a press conference, named Republic, and went into an interview spree with rival channels maligning Republic TV. It did not take much time for the original FIR and the Hansa Report to surface, which formed the basis of the complaint . These documents mentioned India Today, not Republic TV. Notwithstanding these facts, the entire Police force and the Government machinery appears to be geared towards finding ‘some’ evidence against Republic. All officers seem to be having difficult task ahead of them. How can they find something which does not exist?

Now there is even more urgency for the Police, as they are required to submit the status report on the investigation to the court before the next hearing on 5th November 2020. On 25th October 2020, Republic TV made a press release saying it had filed a defamation suit against Mumbai Police Commissioner seeking Seeking ₹200 Cr Damages. CBI has taken over the case in Uttar Pradesh, and it is only a matter of time the scope of investigation is extended to other states, including Maharashtra. Although Maharashtra government has withdrawn the general consent to CBI investigation to prevent immediate takeover of the case, it would be hard to defend in the court as this is truly a pan-India issue.

Frustrated that they could not find any concrete evidence against Republic so far, it appears details like cost of toilet and tissue papers are being sought, and an FIR has been filed against the entire editorial team of Republic TV consisting of over 1000 staff! Probably the original TRP case appears falling flat and now the investigation is going in multiple directions. The reputation of the Police is at the lowest now because of this motivated, malicious investigation.

Supreme Court, on 26th October 2020, has ordered Maharashtra government to file an affidavit within two weeks listing all FIRs seeking to prosecute Arnab Goswami and his channel during the time period. The court also asked Republic to file an affidavit on the picture of course of things to come. Republic’s counsel Harish Salve submitted that he would file a detailed affidavit on all the cases filed against the channel.

As usual, the Lutyens media, in their reports, carefully suppressed all the observations of the Supreme Court against the Maharashtra government. Clearly, the Supreme Court has taken note of the unfair means used in the name of ‘investigation’ and is watching the motivated, malicious ‘investigation’ happening in Maharashtra.

For Maharashtra government, there are few options to control the damage:

  • Considering TRP rating is not just matter for only one state, hand over the probe to CBI.
  • Go after the real culprits named in the original FIR and in the Hansa report.
  • Drop all the cases against Republic.
  • Remove Param Bir Singh from the case, and allow the case to die a gradual, natural death.

The above options are bitter to swallow but would at least control the huge damage that has been caused to the reputation of the Police. They may be having the power of the state machinery and full support of the Lutyens media, but TRUTH is a bigger force to contend with. Sooner the Police come out this mess, which is their own making, better for them and for the state. There are other important matters the state should be focussing on, such as Covid pandemic. Now, the Police and those who control them seem to be having misplaced priorities.

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