'Arnab Goswami paid me to ensure TRP manipulation...': Former BARC CEO makes explosive claim in statement to Mumbai Police

Former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta claims that he was paid a significant sum of money by journalist Arnab Goswami to ensure that Republic TV performed well when it came to TRP rankings. According to an Indian Express report, Dasgupta claims in a handwritten statement that he had received nearly Rs 50 lakh spread out over three years in exchange for his help.

Republic TV editor in chief, Arnab Goswami has found himself embroiled in quite the controversy recently. In a rather sensational announcement at the beginning of October last year, Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh had named Republic TV and two smaller TV channels as being party to an alleged TRP (Television Rating Point) scam. Since then, there have been several other developments with the names of other media organisations cropping up and multiple people being arrested. Goswami however remains firmly in the eye of the storm.

Earlier this month, the Mumbai Police released a massive number of WhatsApp messages purportedly exchanged between Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta over the course of several years. The messages appear to indicate that the Republic TV chief had prior knowledge of events such as the Balakot air strike and many have dubbed this "damning evidence".

But the Mumbai Police's avalanche of evidence is not restricted to several thousand pages of chat messages. According to the report, Goswami paid the BARC official $6,000 on two occasions for international trips as well as Rs 40 lakh in cash (spread over multiple meetings). The two had met up for these exchanges at two Mumbai hotels in the Parel area.

"I worked with my team to ensure manipulation of TRP ratings that made Republic TV get number 1 rating. This would have continued from 2017 to 2019," the article quotes Dasgupta's statement as saying. He goes on to explain that he had met Goswami at the St Regis Hotel in 2017 and was given $6000 in cash for his family trip to France and Switzerland. In another meeting in the same year, he had been given Rs 20 lakh in cash. Funds for a second trip as well as another Rs. 10 lakh in cash came in 2019. Spread over three years, Dasgupta's statement claims that he received Rs. 40 lakh in cash.

The former BARC official's attorney however refutes this. He has reportedly dismissed the claims, alleging that Dasgupta had written the statement under duress.

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