Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, on Thursday, said that Republic TV and two other TV channels are currently being probed for manipulation of TRP.
The investigation so far reveals Republic TV, and two Marathi channels Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema were involved in TRP manipulation.
BARC issues weekly TRP rating and takes 2,000 as the barometer of TV channels. A company named Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd monitors their TRP which is strictly confidential. Apparently, the houses where barometers have been installed were asked to watch a particular channel, said Mumbai Police.
Now, two persons have been arrested in this regard. After receiving a complaint, the Crime Branch nabbed a person from Malad. In the preliminary inquiry, the accused revealed that he had been working for a company that is a part of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). One of the accused who has been arrested and others who are under the radar of the Mumbai police were employees of Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd, said Mumbai police.
"They have misused the confidential data which had been entrusted to them. It has been done for wrongful gains of various tv channels which had resulted in a wrongful loss to various advertisers and their agencies," read the statement.
Preliminary investigations also revealed that the accused have manipulated the sampling metering services by paying users periodically to watch particular tv channel/s. "Many of the people in whose houses these barometers have been installed, have accepted that they have been paid for keeping their TV sets on even if they didn't watch."
A complaint has been registered at Kandivali Police Station about the same. The accused were produced before the Hon ACMM, where they have been remanded to Crime Branch custody till 9th October.
ACP Shashank Sandbhor is the Chief Investigating Officer of the case and is assisted by API Sachin Waze and his team of the C.L.U. under the guidance of JICP Crime Milind Bharambe, DCP Detection Nandkumar Thakur, DCP Akbar Pathan. "All - out efforts are being made to trace the roots of the matter. Several teams have been sent in various states across India to nab the absconding accused persons," added Mumbai police.
Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami issued a statement and said that the Commissioner has named the channel because they questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case. Goswami also said that he will file criminal defamation against Singh.
“MUMBAI POLICE COMMISSIONER PARAM BIR SINGH HAS MADE FALSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST REPUBLIC TV BECAUSE WE HAVE QUESTIONED HIM IN THE SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT CASE INVESTIGATION. REPUBLIC TV WILL FILE A CRIMINAL DEFAMATION CASE AGAINST MUMBAI POLICE COMMISSIONER PARAM BIR SINGH. THERE IS NOT A SINGLE BARC REPORT THAT MENTIONS REPUBLIC TV.”
They added: “THE PEOPLE OF INDIA KNOW THE TRUTH. MR. PARAM BIR SINGH'S INVESTIGATION IN THE SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT CASE IS UNDER A CLOUD AND THIS IS A DESPERATE MEASURE BECAUSE OF REPUBLIC TV'S REPORTAGE ON PALGHAR, THE SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT CASE OR ANY OTHER CASE. THIS KIND OF TARGETING ONLY STRENGTHENS THE RESOLVE OF EVERYONE AT REPUBLIC TV TO PUSH FOR THE TRUTH EVEN HARDER. PARAM BIR SINGH STANDS COMPLETELY EXPOSED TODAY, SINCE BARC HAS NOT MENTIONED REPUBLIC IN ANY SINGLE COMPLAINT. HE SHOULD ISSUE AN OFFICIAL APOLOGY AND GET READY TO FACE US IN COURT.”