A day after Mumbai Police Commissioner named Republic TV and 2 other channels in TRP manipulation racket, the Mumbai Police on Friday summoned the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Republic TV for questioning on Saturday. Meanwhile, amid controversy over an alleged plot to manipulate TRPs, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on Thursday said it is committed to report a true picture of television viewership and welcomed the Mumbai Police’s investigation into the case.
Earlier in the day, city police chief Param Bir Singh claimed to have busted a racket to manipulate TRPs. The police has arrested four persons, including a former employee of Hansa Research, a company engaged by BARC.
TRP (television rating point) is a tool to judge which TV programmes and channels are viewed the most. “As in all our previous cases of suspected panel homes intrusions, BARC India continues to follow its established vigilance and disciplinary guidelines… BARC India appreciates the efforts of the Mumbai Police and will provide the support asked of it,” a BARC India spokesperson said.
The body added that it remains “steadfastly true” to its purpose to accurately and faithfully report “what India watches”.
“Hansa Research and BARC conducted an investigation into the matter over the last few weeks, the conclusion of which resulted in Hansa Research filing an FIR against an ex-employee who was engaged in some wrongdoing,” Praveen Nijhara, Hansa’s chief executive, said in a statement.
He added that the agency is always vigilant and will cooperate with the law enforcement authorities.
In a statement, the city police said BARC functions under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, and it has installed 30,000 barometers in homes to monitor TV consumption and come out with the TRP numbers.
It is based on these TRPs that marketers place advertisements and manipulation of the numbers may have resulted in losses, the police said.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh told reporters that Republic TV channel, facing flak over its attack on the city police and Maharashtra government in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, was also involved in the “false TRP” racket.
Republic TV, in a statement, rubbished Singh’s claims.
Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the channel, said the Mumbai Police chief made false claims against Republic TV as the channel had questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation. Goswami further said the channel will file a criminal defamation case against the Mumbai police commissioner.