Home > News > Sibal and Salve clash in HC over ‘ED report’ in TRP rigging case | India News

Sibal and Salve clash in HC over ‘ED report’ in TRP rigging case | India News


MUMBAI: The TRP rigging case hearing before Bombay high court witnessed a clash of legal titans on Friday, with senior counsel Kapil Sibal appearing for Maharashtra objecting to Republic TV’s senior counsel Harish Salve wanting the Enforcement Directorate to submit its report too.
Objecting strongly to ED being allowed in the hearing, Sibal said, “ED has no role here.” Salve “cannot invite ED to appear here,” added Sibal. Salve said ARG Outlier Media which runs Republic TV has sought to implead ED in the case as the agency is investigating a case connected to the ‘TRP fraud’ registered in Uttar Pradesh. Sibal, objecting strenuously, sought time to file a reply to the amended plea by Republic TV.
“Some nonsensical story has been made that we (the channel) have paid somebody. None of the allegations make an offence even remotely. Assuming some TV channel has paid money to rig TRP, where is the crime of cheating? Has any of the advertisers claimed they have been cheated? It is an abuse of power,” Salve submitted.
Additional solicitor general Anil Singh submitted the agency has filed its affidavit in an application by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd for impleading ED.
“We have strong objections to ED appearing… I am shocked. Why is your enthusiasm more apparent? He (Republic TV) is welcoming ED,” Sibal said when Singh wanted to make submissions.
Salve said “if ED’s findings are different from those of Mumbai police, it means the police is acting out of malice against Arnab Goswami and Republic TV.” He said the case registered in Mumbai was “politically motivated” to “settle scores” with Republic TV.
“I know of your dishonesty…of ED’s dishonesty,” Sibal retorted. Salve shot back, “It is interesting that my learned friend (Sibal) appearing for Maharashtra government is calling a Union agency dishonest.”
Sibal clarified, “I said you are dishonest.” He was referring to Salve’s client, Republic TV — as counsel speak in first person as if they are the litigants. Sibal also claimed Republic TV was colluding with ED.
“This is a very serious matter. A state is calling a Union agency dishonest,” said Salve again.
The state submitted a status report in a sealed cover of investigation by Mumbai police. The court took it on record. Singh said ED could file a status report in a sealed cover too. A bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale was hearing a quashing petition filed by Goswami and ARG Outlier Media.
Sibal wondered why ED should be allowed to submit its report. Singh said its report is ready and can be filed. The court adjourned the matter to January 29 for further hearing, giving Sibal time to file the state’s reply on the jurisdiction of Mumbai police. Sibal asserted the jurisdiction of Mumbai police in investigating the TRP case FIR registered by Kandivli police.
Sibal said cheating has taken place and nearly 15 persons have been arrested and police, still probing the case, have found “serious evidence.” Salve however said, “Mumbai police investigation drifted into areas over which it lacks jurisdiction.” He said their idea “is to find something” and added none of the allegations so far make out any offence, “even remotely.”
After the state sought time to file a reply to the channel’s plea, Sibal assured that interim protection can be extended till the next hearing. The court thus directed the state to file a reply to the plea before the next hearing. The bench also continued interim relief through which it directed city police to summon employees of Hansa Research Group, complainant in the case, for inquiry only two days a week for a “reasonable time” until the next hearing. The company had asked for the probe to be transferred to CBI.

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