New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has virtually ‘exonerated’ Republic TV and R. Bharat — English and Hindi news channels owned by Arnab Goswami.
However, the agency has booked 16 others from various private television channels and a market research group, for alleged money-laundering charges in the sensational TRP scam that erupted two years ago.
The ED charge sheet was filed on September 26 on behalf of Assistant Director Pawan Kumar before the Special PMLA Court Mumbai.
The ED sought initiation of proceedings, among others, to confiscate the provisionally attached properties of all the accused as stipulated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, as they were bought from the proceeds of the crime.
The person chargesheeted by ED are Shirish V. Pattanshetty and Manish R. Sangh, both owners of ‘Fakht Marathi’ channel, their company Lotus Enterprises, Narayan N. Sharma, owner of ‘Box Cinema’ channel and his company Box Cinemedia Pvt. Ltd., Vishwajeet O. Sharma and Darshan B. Singh, both owners of ‘Mahamovie’ channel and their company Teleone Consumers Product Pvt. Ltd.
The names include Bompally Rao Mistry of Sanch Media, Umesh C. Mishra, Vishal V. Bhandari, Dinesh P. Vishwakarma, Vikas V. Burungale, Ashwin C. Motiwale, Mahesh S. Bompalli and Rajesh K. Vishwakarma (all ex-employees of Hansa Research Group), as named in the charge sheet.
The ED has urged the Special Court to take cognisance and issue process against all the accused individuals (for arrest), order the confiscation of their movable and immovable assets, seize their passports, etc.
Earlier, the Mumbai Police had named Republic TV, India Today and other channels for allegedly involved in the TRP scam that had shaken up the country’s media industry and sparked a massive political uproar.
In view of its findings, the ED charge sheet has not mentioned Republic TV, R. Bharat channels, its Editor-in-Chief Goswami or his company ARG Outlier Media, or any BARC officials.