Mumbai: In a major development, the Mumbai Police on Friday lodged an FIR against several staffers of Republic TV news channel on charges of defamation and inciting “disaffection” against the Police Department.
The NM Joshi Marg Police Station has lodged the FIR based on a complaint by Police Sub-Inspector Shashikant Pawar of Special Branch-1, officials said.
The accused Republic TV channel staffers named in the FIR are Executive Editor Niranjan Narayanswamy, Deputy News Editors Sagarika Mitra and Shawan Sen, Anchor/Senior Associate Editor Shivani Gupta, Deputy Editor Shawan Sen, other editorial staff and the newsroom in-charge.
The FIR has involved various sections of Indian Penal Code and Police Act, 1922.
Reacting to the development, the Republic TV termed it as “shocking”, “witch-hunt” and “a shocking assault on media rights” by the Mumbai Police.
Complainant Pawar said that the channel and its staffers aired certain reports on Thursday (October 22) which, among other things, sought to deliberately defame the Mumbai Police, and Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The report in question pertains to one headlined “Revolt Against Param Bir? Senior Officers Part of Probe Give Details” which was monitored by the complainant Pawar on Thursday evening.
The Republic TV report claimed that officers of Mumbai Police were on the verge of rebelling against the Commissioner of Police, citing sources contending that officers were disregarding his orders, which ostensibly spoiled the image of the city police force, it said.
Some of the statements aired by the channel in its report, which are cited in the FIR include: “Republic has exclusive information that there is rebellion against the top cop within the Mumbai police, now growing”, “There is now a rebellion of swords brewing from his subordinates”, “Param Bir Singh is hell-bent on single-handedly tarnishing the image of Mumbai Police”.