Arnab Goswami, others paid lakhs for TRP manipulations: Mumbai police

Mumbai: In a remand application submitted to the court on Monday seeking custody of Partho Dasgupta, former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), an arrested accused in the Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation case, Mumbai police has alleged that Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami had paid Dasgupta lakhs of rupees for TRP rigging.

As per the remand copy, which has been accessed by The Free Press Journal, during his stint as BARC's CEO, Dasgupta allegedly rigged the TRP of Republic TV and that of Republic Bharat in connivance with other accused persons and Goswami. The remand application further stated that investigations have revealed that Goswami used to pay Dasgupta in lakhs. Goswami has not been named as an accused in the case by the Mumbai Police.

The police also said that in his statement to the police, Dasgupta stated that he had bought several expensive items and jewellery from the said money. Police has claimed to have recovered a Tag Heuer wrist watch worth Rs 1 lakh and silverware worth Rs 2.22 lakh. Cops also seized his laptop and IPad.

According to the police officer close to the investigation, Goswami and Partho used to work together in an English news channel, and in 2013 Partho joined BARC while Arnab left the news channel to start his own. According to the police, at least on six occasions Partho received cash in Indian and foreign currency for TRP manipulations. In his voluntary statement to the police, Dasgupta said that he along with his team work to ensure to get number one ranking for Republic TV, the police have claimed. He was also promised a cut in future for TRP manipulations, the police alleged.

"In his statement, Dasgupta said that in 2017 he received 6000 dollars at St. Regis hotel for his family trip to Sweden and Denmark and received another Rs 20 lakh in ITC Parel hotel. In 2018 he received more cash with coupons and vouchers for a foreign trip," said API Sachin Vaze of Criminal Intelligence Unit of police which is investigating the case. The police have also established the same with his WhatsApp chats.

At BARC those who support Dasgupta were given incentives by Partho while those who didn't were neglected, said police.

The Mumbai police have so far arrested 15 people in the case including top officials of BARC and Republic Media network along with few channel owners and several ex-relationship managers of Hansa Research Group a market research company appointed by BARC to measure TRP from households.

Recently Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) citing at an internal audit report submitted to them by BARC claimed that several methods had been used by the former BARC officials to enable Republic TV to be placed on the number one position. He also said that the ratings appeared to be pre-decided and data was accordingly manipulated.

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