Vikas Khanchandani, the Republic TV chief, has been arrested by the Mumbai Police in the infamous fake rating scam. The TV chief is now the 13th person to be arrested in connection with the case so far.
This arrest comes less than a week after the Supreme Court turned down a plea from ARG Outlier Media Private Limited (owner of the Republic Media network) which seeking protection for the employees and the group.
Justice DY Chandrachud had told the group that the petition is ambitious in nature. He added, “You want Maharashtra Police not to arrest any employee and transfer the cases to CBI. You better withdraw this.” The plea accused the Mumbai Police of “hounding” its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, its employees, and the entire media house as a whole.
Previously, Ghanshyam Singh- the channel’s Head of Distribution was named in a 1,400-page charge sheet. Also, two of the accused stated that they will become approvers in the case. As of now, the court will take a final call on the matter.
In October 2020, a case was filed after an official of Hansa Research (the agency that placed the rating metres) Nitin Deokar filed a complaint alleging about the process being manipulated. Upon investigation into the matter, Mumbai Police concluded that Republic TV, which usually boasts of having the highest ratings—was actually tweaking the ratings to get high advertising rates.
According to the police officials, this was done by bribing the households where the monitoring machines were set. According to the police, these households were paid Rs 400-500 a month to keep certain channels on.
A total of 140 witnesses were named in the charge sheet of the case which includes forensic auditors and members of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which assesses ratings. However, the channel maintains the view that these accusations were a matter of vendetta by the Mumbai Police following the clash over the Sushant Singh Rajput case.
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