TRP Scam: SIT adds names of two TV channels, stringent sections in FIR

Updated: 22 October, 2020 11:33 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Crime Branch officer says they suspect Republic TV executive editor of influencing witnesses as he shared details about the questioning on the channel

Some of the arrested accused were produced in Esplanade court on Wednesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Some of the arrested accused were produced in Esplanade court on Wednesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Based on the statements of arrested accused Dinesh Vishwakarma and Ramji Verma and digital evidence, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Mumbai Crime Branch investigating the TRP scam, added the names of two more TV channels in the FIR. It has also added stringent sections of the IPC, as the accused channels have not responded to the summons issued to them.

According to Crime Branch officials, Vishwakarma and Verma confessed that they paid several households having barometers to watch Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and
Box Cinema.

"The accused have also confessed about working for News Nation and Maha Movie. There is evidence that these channels also manipulated their TRPs and hence their names have been added in the FIR," a police officer said.

Meanwhile, Republic TV Chief Financial Officer Shiva Sundaram, who was allegedly not cooperating with the SIT, appeared for the first time after being issued a strong summon under section 41 of CrPC.

Investigating Officer ACP Shashikant Sandbhor and Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze questioned him.

"We have also added sections 174 (non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant) 179 (refusing to answer public servant authorised to question) 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 204 (destruction of document or electronic record to prevent its production as evidence) of the IPC," the officer added.

He further said, "The statement of Republic TV CFO has been recorded and he has been asked to appear on Thursday as well. We are examining the documents submitted by him."

The SIT also questioned Republic TV Executive Editor Niranjan Narayan Swami for the second time. The team suspects Swami of trying to influence witnesses as he shared details about the questioning on the channel.

"He was questioned on the Hansa report which he spoke about on Republic TV on October 10. We are just trying to verify the document whether it is authentic, because Hansa has said that they are not aware of the document and has also filed a civil suit against Republic TV," the officer said.

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First Published: 22 October, 2020 07:35 IST

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