Mumbai Police claims Republic TV rigged TRP; Arnab Goswami to sue police

Published: October 8,2020 07:14 PM

Story highlights

October 8, 2020: In a sensational revelation, the Mumbai Police claimed to have busted a major fraud of manipulating TRP data by at least three TV channels including Arnab Goswami's Republic TV.

October 8, 2020: In a sensational revelation, the Mumbai Police claimed to have busted a major fraud of manipulating TRP (Television Rating Point) data by at least three TV channels and nabbed two persons, Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh said here on Thursday.

Singh told reporters that Republic TV, facing flak over its attack on Mumbai police and Maharashtra government in the Sushant Singh Rajpur death case, was also involved in the TRP racket.

 “The arrested accused are owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema channels while Republic TV’s directors and promoters are yet to be questioned. We will be calling some of the employees of the Republic TV channels for inquiry,” said Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.

The police swung into action after rating agency Hansa Services Private Limited, a contractor of BARC, which functions under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) filed a complaint.

The complainant firm claimed that it powers Rs 32,000 crore Indian television advertisement industry by providing sharp insights about television channels. It has installed approximately 30,000 barometers in various parts of India which monitor various programmes and channels. Based on the statistical metrics, BARC awards ratings to various television channels and advertisers pay the channels at the rates fixed on the basis of the ratings.

Hansa Research Group found manipulations in the TRP and approached the Mumbai police. Following their complaint, the Mumbai police arrested an ex-employee of Hansa and recovered cash of Rs 20 lakh from his residence. Police also arrested his associate and recovered Rs 8 lakh in cash from his residence.

During inquiry they revealed that they were paid by certain channels to distribute money to the households, where barometers were installed, to keep the English channel on throughout the day.

The police then inquired with some of the households and learnt that they were paid Rs 400 to Rs 500 for per month to keep the channel on. At some places police found people not familiar with English staring at the television sets with the English channel on, said Singh.

 “During the inquiry, we also found that one of the arrested accused persons and some of the wanted accused were employees of Hansa and they have misused the confidential information with them. It has apparently been done for wrongful gain to certain television channels which resulted in wrongful loss to advertisers and advertising agencies,” Singh added.

Preliminary investigations also revealed that these accused persons have manipulated the sampling metering services by inducing the barometer users by paying them periodically to watch particular television channels. Many of the people in whose homes these barometers have been installed, have accepted that they have been monetarily beneficial for keeping their TV sets on even if they actually didn’t watch.

The case has been registered in the Kandivali police station for breach of trust and cheating against the accused. They were arrested and produced in the court and sent to police custody till October 9.

Meanwhile, Arnab Goswami on Thursday said he will take legal action against Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh who named his Republic TV among three channels for rigging Television Rating Points (TRP).