No bail for republic TV CEO


No bail for republic TV CEO

BACKGROUND

• Republic Media Network's CEO Vikas Khanchandani was arrested by the Mumbai police on Sunday after an early morning raid, just a day ahead of the anticipatory bail hearing.

• Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court Mumbai has remanded Republic TV Chief Executive Officer Vikas Khanchandani for two days police custody in the fake TRP Scam case registered by Mumbai Police.

• An internal report was prepared by Hansa Research Group along with the Vigilance Team of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC)investigating malpractices by some channels in obtaining fake Television Rating Points. Relying on the report, an employee of Hansa Research filed a complaint and an FIR was registered for offences punishable under Sections 409, 420, 120 B, 465, 468, 406, 174, 179, 201, 204, 212 and 34 of the IndianPenal Code at Kandivali police station and the investigation was transferred to the Crime Branch Unit, Mumbai.

FURTHER DETAILS OF THE INVESTIGATION

• Both of them have been questioned by the Mumbai police in relation to the said FIR. While the CEO claims to have undergone 100 hours of "semi custodial interrogation". Both the applications state-

"The entire interrogation of the applicant was an exercise to pressurise him, intimidate him and essentially harass him into churning out falsehoods to implicate ARG and Arnab Goswami. The applicant fears that, despite having continuously co-operated,he will be arrested in the case for the sole reason that he did not spin mistruths, despite the incessant pressuredeployed and unparalleled levels of harassment meted out to the Applicant,to enable the pre-determined, pre-judged and baseless narrative of the respondent so as to implicate a news organisation that has been seeking accountability from the respondent."

• Applicants have alleged that the Mumbai police's conduct and line of questioning in the case despite full cooperation by them smacks of mala fides-

"The malice of the respondent became evident from the manner in whichthe Crime Branch has been conducting their investigation in the TRP manner.After a lapse of almost two months from being first summoned in relation to the saidFIR, the Applicant for the first time in December has now started receiving notices under Section 41A of CrPC, under the false pretext that there were grounds to question the Applicant."

COMMENTS BY NBF

• "Vikas Khanchandani’s arrest by the Greater Mumbai Police is the latest police action after its senior executive Ghanshyam Singh was arrested, remanded and released on bail after spending 26 days in prison. Vikas’ anticipatory bail petition is scheduled to be heard by the court and the arrest and remand is highly disturbing. NBF herein reiterates and urges the Government of India to immediately set-up and independent neutral national agency to investigate into any allegations of professional misconduct by journalists, executives, and owners of media company, in order to prevent selective harassment by the State Authority and to ensure the Freedom of Press," the NBF said in a statement.

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