The Republic Media Network is the largest news network in India. It reaches over 25 crore viewers (250 million) every week in English broadcast, Hindi broadcast and on the Digital space. We have taken on the Maharashtra Government on the Sushant Singh Rajput case, as well as on the lynching of the Sadhus in Palghar. Acting in malice and conspiracy, the Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra Government on Thursday afternoon launched a fake case against us, without even doing a preliminary investigation. Their fake case against Republic was led by a bizarre press conference of the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
When it was exposed that the FIR was against India Today, the Mumbai Police tried to do a hasty explanation. The Mumbai Police Joint Commissioner went on-air on India Today (the channel to whom they’d given a clean chit in 12 hours) saying there was no evidence against India Today. To put the record straight, here is the evidence:
1. The FIR which mentions the grave charges in the TRP Scam, names India Today 6 times.
2. The key witness in the case has gone on-record making allegations against India Today. She has clearly said that they were directed to watch India Today by Vishal Bhandari- the Relationship Manager of the Hansa Research Group Private Limited which filed the complaint. This is strong evidence against India today.
3. It was disclosed on Friday in a massive revelation that India Today was caught in a TRP rigging scam by none other than the rating agency BARC itself. India Today was held guilty of “viewership malpractice” after a show-cause notice on 27 April, 2020, and was asked to pay Rs 5,00,000 fine to BARC for an " inexplicable increase in viewership”.
4. The serious observations of the BARC's Disciplinary Committee headed by Honourable Justice Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, established that India Today was found guilty of rigging TRPs.
Making his malice and political agenda even clearer, the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh has been working overtime to arrange an escape route for India today. The country now knows that the entire focus is on India Today and its alleged malpractices. The Republic Media Network also places on record that the Maharashtra Government Minister Anil Parab and top Shiv Sena leader Sunil Raut have been openly threatening the Republic Media Network.
The Republic Media Network would also like to place on record that the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s action is a continuing chapter in the witch-hunt of the Maharashtra Government and Shiv Sena which on 10 September, 2020 issued a warning to all cable distributors not to carry channels of the Republic Media Network or else face consequences.
To fight this malice, the Republic Media Network has approached the Honourable Supreme Court of India. We have served notices of our legal action to the Maharashtra Government as well. While we will follow the law, we are determined to seek a legal remedy against this atrocious witch-hunt.
Channels like India Today which are receiving the protection of the Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra Government today, should know that the coin may flip if they start doing independent journalism and questioning them tomorrow. And channels that are exulting at this open targeting of a news organisation for its approach to certain news stories should know that this is setting a precedent for the future.
The Republic Media Network will fight this tooth and nail and win this— both in the courts of law and in the courts of public opinion.