Republic TV's CEO Vikas Khanchandani was arrested by the Mumbai police on Sunday in the alleged fake TRP scam. Khanchandani will be produced in court later in the day.
The arrest came a day ahead of the hearing on Vikas Khanchandani's anticipatory bail plea. Reacting to the arrest, Republic TV said, "Vikas Khanchandani has faced over 100 hours of interrogation in the fake TRP case. Republic CEO's arrest by the Mumbai Police without any papers once again exposes the malicious and vengeance-filled intentions of the Mumbai Police persecuting the network." This is the 13th arrest made by the Mumbai Police in the TRP scam case.
As the news of the arrest broke in, several netizens criticised the Mumbai police for the action. Meanwhile, #FreeRepublicCEONow also started to trend on Twitter.
Check the reactions here:
On December 7, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a petition filed by ARG Outlier Media and Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami seeking protection for all employees of the organisation from coercive action by the Maharashtra Police in cases filed against them. In that plea, too, the media group alleged continuous hounding of its employees by the state police and asked to quash all first information reports lodged against them, or transfer them to the CBI.
The fake TRP scam came to light in October when rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers.
Hansa had been tasked with installing barometers, which record viewership data (which channel has been watched and for how long) at sample households. Apart from Republic TV, Box Cinema and Marathi channel Fakt Marathi were the others named during the preliminary investigation. Republic TV and other accused have denied wrongdoing and manipulation of the TRP system.