The Mumbai police on Friday objected to the Enforcement Directorate appearing before the Bombay High Court in the TRP scam case, Live Law .
A bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale was hearing writ petitions filed by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which owns Republic TV, challenging the Mumbai police’s investigation into the rigging of TRPs by private TV news channels. The scam was unearthed last year after the Broadcast Audience Research Council, an industry body owned by top broadcasters and advertisers which measures TRPs, filed a complaint that certain channels were rigging their TRP numbers, apparently to generate more revenue from ads.
The Enforcement Directorate appeared in the high court after it was impleaded as a party by ARG Outlier Media. On Friday, the company’s lawyer, Harish Salve, submitted that if ED’s findings on TRP manipulation were different from those of the Mumbai police, it would mean the latter were acting with malice against Republic TV and its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.
Taking strong objection to this, Kapil Sibal, appearing for the police, said that the ED had no role in the matter. “My learned friend cannot invite ED to appear here," he argued. “I have strong objections to ED appearing in this matter. Why is your enthusiasm more apparent? Obviously, you want to support him. I know about your dishonesty and ED's honesty.”
Salve responded that it was “interesting” Sibal was calling a central agency dishonest. "This is a very serious matter. A state is calling a Union agency dishonest!" Salve remarked. To which Sibal clarified that it was Salve whom he had called “dishonest”.
According to Live Law, Salve further submitted that the Mumbai police’s case was "politically motivated" to "settle scores" with Goswami.
At a previous hearing on January 6, the Police that they had found more evidence against Republic TV and Goswami and wanted to take coercive action against the accused. They had, however, agreed to refrain from taking any coercive action against the accused until the next hearing.
The next hearing is on January 29.