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Mumbai Police books entire editorial team of Republic TV network for defamation


MUMBAI: The city police on Friday registered a non-bailable FIR against the entire Republic TV network editorial team for airing reports amounting to "incitement of disaffection among the members of the force and defaming the Mumbai police".

The FIR has been filed at NM Joshi Marg police station under section 3(1) of the Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act, 1922, along with IPC section 500 (defamation) on a complaint by sub-inspector Shashikant Pawar of the Special Branch, he said.

PSI Shashikant Pawar of Special Branch has made a complaint against Republic TV and its staffers. The accused are deputy news editor Sagarika Mitra, anchor and associate editor Shivani Gupta, Deputy editor Shawan Sen, executive editor Niranjan Narayanswami along with the newsroom in-charge and editorial staffers.

Reacting to the development, the Republic TV termed it “shocking”, “witch-hunt” and “an assault on media rights” by the Mumbai Police.

Pawar, in his complaint, 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 its chief Param Bir Singh.

The report in question pertains to the report headlined “Revolt Against Param Bir? Senior Officers Part of Probe Give Details”.

The Republic TV report claimed that officers of Mumbai Police were on the verge of rebelling against the Commissioner, citing sources contending that officers were disregarding his orders, which ostensibly spoiled the image of the city police force.

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”.