A sessions court here on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to three Republic TV employees in connection with the alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) rigging scam. The three employees – Shivendu Mulherkar, Ranjit Walter and Sivasubramaniyam Sundaram – had filed their pleas before the court in November-December last year, their lawyer Vikram Kamath said.
The court heard the pleas on Monday, he said. On Wednesday, Additional Sessions Judge A D Deo allowed the anticipatory bail applications of the three employees, their lawyer said.
They had submitted before the court there was no ground against them (for arrest) and they were not named in the FIR registered in the case. Subsequently, a charge sheet was filed and they were named as accused. So, whatever material was there, it was before the court. Hence, their custodial interrogation was not required, Kamath had argued.
In a supplementary charge sheet filed in the case in June this year, the Mumbai police had named the three as accused, along with senior journalist and Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami. The alleged fake TRP scam came to light in October last year when ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group (HRG), alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers. The HRG had been tasked with installing barometers for recording channel viewership data at sample households.
Police had arrested about dozens of people, including top officials of the BARC and Republic TV. Most of them are currently out on bail.