- Apprentice Lawyer
Vikas Khanchandani, CEO of Republic TV has been granted bail today by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Esplanade, Mumbai in the TRP scam case presently being probed by the Mumbai Police.
Khanchandani was granted regular bail by the Magistrate following his arrest last Sunday by the Mumbai Police. Following his arrest, he had been remanded to judicial custody for 2 weeks.
Today, he has been released on bail.
This development comes a day after an Additional Sessions Judge, DE Kothalikar expressed disappointment on the manner in which Mumbai Police chose to arrest Khanchandani a day before his plea for anticipatory bail was scheduled for hearing.
During remand proceedings, the Police had submitted before the Esplanade court that Republic network in order to increase their Television Rating Points (TRP) allegedly carried out transactions amounting to Rs. 15 lakhs a month in order to ensure that more viewers watch their channels - Republic TV (English) and Republic Bharat (Hindi).
It was claimed that police found the alleged amount in possession of Abhishek Kolawade, accused of taking money from the channel for carrying out activities to increase the viewership and thereby the TRPs of the channel.
After interrogating Ghanshyam Singh, Assistant Vice President of ARG Outlier the police concluded that Singh was allegedly being directed to carry out illegal activities to increase TRPs for their channel by Chief Operating Officer of the channel Priya Mukherjee, who in turn was being instructed by Khanchandani.
That Republic channels were accused of flouting the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India regulations by paying cable operators and multi-system operators for using the 'dual/ promotional local channel number' to telecast their news channels on more than a single channel.
Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda for Khanchandani had, however, opposed the remand contending that Khanchandani's name or his role was never mentioned in the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police.
Khanchandani was stated to have been named in the scam only because there is a dispute between Arnab Goswami and the Maharashtra government which started after Goswami raised his voice against the Palghar mob lynching and Bandra migrant workers gathering.
It was contended that Khanchandani was being targeted because he is working for the Republic TV network. It was also pointed out that Khanchandani was deliberately arrested on Sunday, a day before his anticipatory bail application was listed for hearing before the Mumbai Sessions Court, so as to defeat his anticipatory bail application.