Mumbai: Maharashtra's ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies -- Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress -- on Friday demanded stringent action in the TRP scam detected by the Mumbai Police, allegedly implicating some private television channels, including Republic TV.
While Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi shot off a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, party MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut asked that given the huge magnitude of the scam, should central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) enter the picture.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh warned that irrespective of their position, all those found guilty in the matter would be dealt with strictly, while Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that besides the huge amounts of money involved in the scam, it was a blow to the Fourth Pillar of democracy.
Contending that the TRP scam, in which the Mumbai Police have named Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema and India Today TV, was worth over Rs30,000 crore, Raut said that it is as big as the 2G spectrum scam and some other defence scandals of the past.
"In recent months, we saw some channels working as 'propaganda channels' for some political parties. They targeted the MVA government, the Thackeray family... Who is behind this scam? Where did the money come from," asked Raut.
Slamming Republic TV, Sawant said that besides doing injustice to the rest of the media, it undermines the very democratic foundations since the media is the Fourth Pillar of democracy.
"The manner in which Republic TV campaigned to subvert public opinion by trying to paint Sushant Singh Rajput's death as a 'murder case' clearly points towards a major conspiracy to denigrate the Maharashtra government that stands exposed now," Sawant said.
"This, along with the fake social media accounts created in the Sushant case, are 'neo-terrorism' intended to sabotage democracy by artificially creating a narrative. Republic TV enjoys support from the BJP government. It's a criminal conspiracy of the BJP against the country and this channel is an accomplice," Sawant added.
Kishore Tiwari, Advisor to Maharashtra Chief Minister, said that he had been saying since long that some of these channels are acting as "mouthpieces" of the BJP and the latest revelations by the Mumbai Police have confirmed it.
"These channels are indulging in creating fake news, twisting truth and facts, and now they have been found indulging in fraudulent manipulation of TRP ratings to make bogus claims of being No. 1. The police must also probe the entire financial dealings of these channels," Tiwari said.
(This report is from IANS feed)