Republic Media executive’s police custody extended

The police custody of assistant vice-president and distribution head at Republic Media Network Ghanshyam Singh, 44, has been extended by three more days. Singh was earlier arrested on Tuesday in alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation case.

The Mumbai crime branch has already arrested 12 persons in connection with the case including Singh.

Singh was the first office bearer of Republic TV to be held in the case. While arresting him, police had claimed Abhishek Kolwade, who was already arrested in the case, has allegedly revealed Singh's name in his statement to police. "As per Kolwade's statement, Singh had been paying him Rs 15 lakh a month from January to July this year for rigging Republic TV's TRPs," stated police in their remand application.

According to the crime branch officer, Kolwade then paid money to other accused who further paid to households to watch the particular channel. Kolwade, who was arrested on October 25, is the proprietor of a company named Max Media.

In the second week of October Mumbai police claimed to have unearth alleged TRP manipulation racket and alleged several channels involved in TRP manipulations. A special investigation team had been set up to probe the case.

According to police, the Relationship Managers (RM) were allegedly paid to rig TRPs, manipulating the sampling metering services by inducing the bar-o-meter users to watch particular TV channels and paying them periodically.

The households were paid Rs 400-500 monthly, to watch a particular channel. There are 2,000 bar-o-meters installed in Mumbai to monitor TRPs. Manipulated TRPs result in miscalculated targeted audiences for advertisers.

The police have so far arrested owners of few channels along with several former RMs of a market research company, Hansa Research Group, hired by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to maintain and fetch viewership data from bar-o-meters installed at homes.

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