Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami has been accused of instigating communal tension in connection with the death of two sadhus in Palghar district, outside Mumbai. He is also accused in the incident of a crowd gathering at the Bandra Railway station during the lockdown in April. The Republic TV is also fighting the accusation of tweaking ratings through bribery for bigger advertising revenue.
Mr Goswami has been issued a show cause notice by the Mumbai Police and asked to appear before the Additional Commissioner of Police in Worli on October 16.
Sources said Mr Goswami has been asked to sign a bond that he won’t air provocative content.
The sadhus were beaten to death in April by a mob after rumours that they were kidnapping children to harvest organs, including kidneys. It was among a slew of similar incidents triggered by WhatsApp forwards of rumours and fake news.
Shocking visuals from Gadchinchale village showed an out-of-control mob armed with sticks and stones attacking a police team as they tried to rescue the two sadhus and their driver. All three were beaten to death.
On April 21, Mr Goswami had conducted talk show “Puchhta Hain Bharat” on the incident where he asked if it was a crime to be Hindu and wear saffron and whether the people would have remained silent had the victims been non-Hindu, the show cause notice said.
A case under IPC sections 153 (giving provocation to cause riot) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion) and other sections was registered against him following the program, it added.
In the Bandra station incident, thousands of migrant labourers had gathered outside the station to protest against the extension of lockdown in April. Video footage from the area showed thousands of people jostling, giving a go by to government warnings about coronavirus and social distancing.
The police later said riots were averted only because the lockdown was in place.
On Sunday, a senior official of Republic TV was questioned by the Mumbai police in the case involving the alleged rigging of television ratings.
The Republic TV — which claims the highest TRPs or Television Rating Points among news channels — said they were being targeted for their coverage of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, where they have questioned the role of the Mumbai police.
Mr Goswami had said they will sue the Mumbai police for defamation.