NEW DELHI: India's premier investigative agency for money laundering and fighting all economic crimes, the Enforcement Directorate(ED) today virtually exonerated Republic TV and Republic Bharat, English and Hindi news channels respectively owned by popular news anchor Arnab Goswami.
The Enforcement Directorate after giving a clean chit to Arnab Goswami-owned Republic TV and Republic Bharat said that after rummaging through all the accusations and evidence it was found that no such evidence was found to be forthcoming in the statements of the accused or the witnesses. The digital data evidence was also not found to be satisfactory for a case to be registered. The ED was also not satisfied with the probe the Mumbai Police did against Arnab Goswami and his channels.
The agency booked 16 other various private television channels and a market research group, for alleged money-laundering charges in the sensational TRP scam that erupted two years ago which saw popular anchors like Arnab Goswami frequenting ED's office where he was grilled for hours.
Notably, The ED charge sheet was filed on September 26 on behalf of Assistant Director Pawan Kumar before the Special PMLA Court Mumbai and has sought initiation of proceedings, among others, to confiscate the provisionally attached properties of all the accused as stipulated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, as they were bought from the proceeds of the crime.
The accused individuals and their enterprises which have been found to be linked to money-laundering are as follows, Shirish V. Pattanshetty and Manish R. Sangh, both owners of 'Fakht Marathi' channel, their company Lotus Enterprises, Narayan N. Sharma, owner of 'Box Cinema' channel and his company Box Cinemedia Pvt. Ltd., Vishwajeet O. Sharma, and Darshan B. Singh, both owners of 'Mahamovie' channel and their company Teleone Consumers Product Pvt. Ltd.
The charge sheet also named, Bompally Rao Mistry of Sanch Media, Umesh C. Mishra, Vishal V. Bhandari, Dinesh P. Vishwakarma, Vikas V. Burungale, Ashwin C. Motiwale, Mahesh S. Bompalli and Rajesh K. Vishwakarma (all ex-employees of Hansa Research Group).
The ED has urged the Special Court to take cognizance and issue a process against all the accused individuals (for arrest), order the confiscation of their movable and immovable assets, seize their passports, etc.