As Maharashtra Assembly issues the fourth notice in the breach of privilege motion passed against Republic Media Network Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on Friday, there are multiple malicious attempts recently carried out. Read details below -
On 16 October, Maharashtra Assembly issued the fourth notice to Arnab regarding the breach of privilege motion passed by it and the legislative council. The notice is issued at 2:50 PM asking Arnab to appear before the Assembly at 3:00 PM. Republic has already moved the Supreme Court in this matter challenging the breach of privilege motion against Arnab, arguing that the privileges of an Assembly could not be used against someone outside of the House. Maintaining that Arnab has not 'hindered the working of the house', Republic has pointed out that the Assembly never had the authority to exceed its privilege. The SC-bench headed by CJI S A Bobade has issued a notice in the matter. The matter is still underway in the Supreme Court.
On 8 October, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh held a press conference to share details of an alleged 'TRP scam' into which the police were probing - naming Republic TV and two Marathi channels - Fakht Marathi and Box Cinema.On contrary to Singh's allegations, the FIR filed by the Mumbai police has revealed that the arrested Relationship manager of the Hansa Research Group Private Limited - Vishal Bhandari - has named India Today and other channels on allegedly 'increasing ratings'.
Moreover, Republic TV accessed a 7-page report by BARC-associate Hansa Research Group Private Limited which highlighted cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy committed by its employees - Vishal Bhandari, Dinesh Vishwakarma and Unknown Persons. Bhandari has confessed to the BARC vigilance team that a person named Vinay called him and asked him to approach 5 panel homes and ask them to watch India Today daily for 2 hours. Mumbai police has summoned Republic TV's executive editor- Niranjan Narayanaswamy, Senior Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor, CEO, COO, and senior members of the Republic Media Network's Distribution team, asking them to reveal how they accessed the 'Hansa report'.
Inspite of the Bombay High Court ordering 'no coercive steps to be taken' against Republic TV on the two FIRs filed by Mumbai police against the channel's coverage of the Palghar lynching, the Mumbai police has sent a notice to Arnab under section 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on October 10. The police has asked as to why a chapter proceeding should not be initiated against him, inspite of the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court's order staying 'coercive actions'. The Bombay High Court has ordered the suspension of both FIRs maintaining that the 'coverage was not communal'.
Amid the Drug probe underway by the Narcotics Control Bureau of various Bollywood filmstars, a civil suit has been filed by 38 production houses and film bodies in the Delhi High Court against Republic TV’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and journalist Pradeep Bhandari seeking restrain. Claiming that their comments were "irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory" against the Hindi film industry, the petitioners sought a permanent injunction against 'reportage and publication of material that violates applicable laws', no “parallel private investigations” and opposed the usage of 'objectionable expressions and phrases' in the reports. This suit's petitioners include production houses of Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn, Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar etc.
Mumbai Police summoned Republic's consulting editor and reporter Pradeep Bhandari - who has been reporting on the Sushant Singh Rajput case, asking him to appear at the Khar police station. A complaint was filed against Bhandari - under Articles 188 - (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of IPC and 37(1), 135 of the Bombay Police Act. While he has been given anticipatory bail, he has been told to appear before the Mumbai police on October 22 or face action.
FIRs were filed by the Mumbai police over Republic TV's coverage of the Palghar lynching incident and the gathering of migrant workers at Bandra railway station at NM Joshi Marg and Pydhonie Police stations. Arnab Goswami and Republic's Group CFO S Sundaram had been questioned twice each at the NM Joshi Marg Police station in the matter. Initially, the Supreme Court stayed 'all coersive action' and ordered 'no additional complaints to be registered' till a legal remedy is given by the Bombay High Court. After approaching the Bombay High Court, all FIRs were ordered to remain suspended, and no coercive steps to be taken, maintaining that the 'coverage was not communal'.
Republic TV's crew members - reporter Anuj Kumar, video journalist Yashpaljit Singh, and Ola cab driver Pradeep Dilip Dhanavade was held by the Maharashtra police in custody at Karjat for 138 hours after being 'illegally' detained and charged with 'trespassing' on 9 September. Anuj was initially denied legal representation and was interrogated in police custody at Karjat - asking him to reveal his sources, lead and the story he was pursuing. The crew was granted bail by a Khalapur court on 14 September, levied a small bail bond for their release, and imposed no restriction on the team's travel.