The Mumbai police have filed an FIR against several staffers of Republic TV based on a complaint by Shashikant Pawar, a sub-inspector with the Crime Branch.
The FIR names Shivani Gupta, Sagarika Mitra, Shawan Sen, Niranjan Narayanaswamy, and “editorial staff and newsroom incharge”. It was filed under the Police Incitement to Disaffection Act of 1922, along with Indian Penal Code provisions related to defamation.
Pawar’s complaint pertains to a bulletin aired by Republic TV on October 22 in which Shivani Gupta, the anchor, spoke about a “revolt” in the Mumbai police against the commissioner Param Bir Singh. The complaint alleges that the news bulletin spread false news about the police commissioner’s orders being disobeyed by his juniors and, thus, tried to incite disaffection.
The complaint quotes statements like, “Republic has exclusive information that, there is rebellion against the Mumbai top cop, within the Mumbai police now growing…”; “Param Bir Singh is infact hell-bent on tarnishing the image single handedly tarnishing the image of Mumbai Police”; and “...there is now a rebellion of swords brewing from his subordinates”.
Republic TV has called the FIR “a brazen abuse of office”. In a statement, it said journalists were being targeted for “exposing the misdeeds” of the city police chief.
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