Sleaze audio: No shield from arrests to TV channel CEO, stafftext_fields
Kochi: The CEO and eight other staffers of a TV news channel, allegedly involved in airing purported sleaze talks of a state minister leading him to quit, were refused to be shielded by the Kerala High Court today from their arrests.
Justice Abraham Mathew denied any interim relief to the TV channel staffers while hearing their anticipatory bail pleas that they have filed apprehending their arrests for allegedly tricking the minister to talk to one of their women scribes in a sexual undertone during a sting operation.
The petitioners' counsel pressed for an interim order to restrain the police from arresting them, but the court denied it and posted the petitions for further hearing on April 6.
Police had last week registered a criminal case against the nine persons, including 'Mangalam' channel's CEO and Managing Director R Ajit Kumar on a complaint by the youth wing of the Nationalist Congress Party for airing "obscene conversation."
The FIR was lodged under section 67A of the Information Technology Act involving the offence of electronic publication or transmission of any material having sexually explicit act or conduct which entails jail term of five years and Rs 5 lakh fine on conviction.
The FIR was also filed under various penal provisions, including the one for hatching a criminal conspiracy under section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code.
Making its debut, the channel had on March 26 aired the audio clip of the purported talk of Transport Minister A K Saseendran, NCP representative in the LDF cabinet, with a woman, following which he had resigned the same day.
The channel had tendered an apology for airing the contents and admitted that it was a "sting operation" involving one of their women journalists and not a housewife, as it had claimed earlier.