Mumbai Police now claims to have accessed proof against Republic TV

After the sensational announcement made by the Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh on October 8 that leading journalist Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV is among the news channels which were allegedly involved in a scam where TV rating point (TRP) was being manipulated, the Mumbai Police has now declared that they have accessed proof against Republic TV in the diary of one of the accused as part of the investigations that are underway in the TRP manipulation scam.

According to reports, Mumbai police have recovered a diary from one of the accused Vishal Ved Bhandari where entries of several households were found.

The Mumbai Police had arrested Vishal Ved Bhandari on Friday after it was discovered that he influenced households where BARC barometers are placed to watch Republic TV for a specific time every day and paid them in exchange to increase viewership of the channel thus leading to unfair maneuvering of ratings.

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Upon interrogating the members of such households by the Mumbai Police, it was revealed that they were paid on a monthly basis by the accused to watch Republic TV, reports claim. Mumbai Police have also found messages being exchanged with these households in regards to payments, as per reports.

Another witness in the TRP probe has said that she was approached by Bhandari in January 2019 and was asked to install a barometer at her household which would calculate TRP.

“He told me we will also give Rs 483 per month for placing the barometer,” the witness stated. “In January 2020, one Dinesh Vishwakarma along with Vishal Bhandari came to my house for maintenance and TRP reading. They asked me if I watched Republic news channel. I told them no because I don’t like it.”

“They told me to watch Republic news channel every day for two hours and told me I will be paid an additional Rs 400 to watch Republic news channel. When I said yes, they paid me Rs 400 in cash. I never used to watch Republic channel, but they offered money on a monthly basis for keeping Republic channel on and I agreed,” the witness claimed.

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Addressing media persons, the Mumbai police chief said on October 8 that police have arrested two persons in this connection.

“An amount of Rs 20 lakh was seized from their possession. Another Rs 8 lakh was also seized from one of their bank accounts. During investigation, it was revealed that Rs 400 to Rs 500 were paid to each household to manipulate the TRPs,” Singh said on Thursday.

During investigation, it was also found that some of the former employees of the firm, which BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) had given contracts for installing barometers, were influencing the TRP. Usually, BARC, which is responsible for measuring TRPs, has installed 2,000 barometers across Mumbai for TRP. The data of these 2,000 barometers are confidential.

Meanwhile, Arnab Goswami has refuted the claim made by Mumbai Police chief. In a press statement, Goswami said, “Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh has made allegations against republic TV because we have questioned him in Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation. Republic TV will file a criminal defamation case against Mumbai Police commissioner.”

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