The Mumbai crime branch’s special investigation team (SIT) set up to investigate alleged television rating points (TRP) rigging case has recovered Rs 13.72 lakh which belonged to accused Abhishek Kolawade who was earlier arrested in the case. For rigging the TRP, Kolawade was allegedly paid through hawala transactions claimed a crime branch officer on Sunday.
In the last few days, several teams of crime branch conducted raids in Thane and Mumbai. During the raids, Rs 11.72 lakh were seized from Kolawade’s residence and office while another Rs 2 lakh have been seized from Ashish Choudhary which belonged to Kolawade as well, said police.
They also raided office of Crystal Broadcast, a channel distributer company in Thane and seized three hard disks, 2 laptops and 5 pen drives. The company is run by Choudhary, an accused arrested in the case a couple of days ago.
According to the crime branch officer, Choudhary used to pay Rs 5 lakh per channel to Kolawade per month for rigging the TRP of particular channels. Kolawade then paid the money to Relationship Managers as payments to households to watch a particular channel in order to increase their TRPs.
In the second week of October, the crime branch had unearthed the alleged TRP manipulation racket and has alleged that several channels indulged in such malpractices. Since then the crime branch has arrested total 11 accused so far including owners of two channels. It has also recorded statements of close to 50 people in the case so far.