As Mumbai police continue to summon Republic TV’s officials to question on the alleged TRP scam, Congress leader Dr Udit Raj on Saturday, targetted Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, asking whether BARC was wrong compared to Republic TV’s exposes on the scam. He said that Republic was named by the city Commissioner Param Bir Singh and even BARC had expressed its disappointment. This comment comes amid Mumbai police filing an FIR against Republic TV’s top editors, editorial staff and newsroom in-charge and the Sena-NCP-Congress government revoking its consent to CBI, fearing transfer of the TRP case to the central agency.
Udit Raj: ‘BARC has expressed disappointment’
“The way TRP rigging is done and how Republic TV has been named, BARC also has expressed its disappointment,” said Raj. When asked about the OpIndia expose which alleged ‘Mumbai police coercing people to name Republic in TRP scam’, he added, “If that has happened it is bad. But it is a truth that 90 crore people see TV and only 40,000 have been installed with Bar-O-Meters. Of these only 700 decide the TRPs of English news channels – by misusing 20 Bar-O-meters you can inflate your TRPs.The one who is responsible will be caught in course of the investigation. So BARC is wrong, those people in whose houses Bar-O-meters are installed are wrong, only you are right”.
Mumbai police files FIR on Republic
Targetting the Republic Media Network, Mumbai Police filed an FIR on Friday, naming top editors of the Network, editorial staff and newsroom in charge – invoking Section 3(1) – a 1922 law – for incitement to disaffection among members of the Police Force and defaming Mumbai Police – under sections 500 and 34 of IPC. The FIR was filed after the network aired a news segment that voiced several police officers expressing discontent with the continued targetting Republic in the alleged TRP scam. Apart from this, Mumbai Police has asked Republic Media Network CFO Sundaram to submit details of every transaction and detail of every journalist with the Network within 12 hours- which include costs of coffee vending machine, air-conditioning equipment, furniture, etc. Police has questioned Republic employees for over 100 hours.
What is the alleged TRP scam?
Commissioner Param Bir Singh had held a press conference to share details of an alleged ‘TRP scam’ into which the police were probing – naming Republic TV and two Marathi channels – Fakht Marathi and Box Cinema. Mumbai police has arrested 10 people till date including Hansa research’s ex-employee Vishal Bhandari and ex-staffer Bomapalli Rao Mistri in connection with this case. While Singh named Republic TV, neither the FIR, remand copy nor the arrested individuals’ statements mention the channel, instead named India Today. As per Bhandari’s own confession to the BARC Vigilance team as mentioned in Hansa Research’s report, a person named Vinay paid him Rs.5000 as commission for distributing Rs.1000 among 5 panel homes to ask them to watch India Today daily for 2 hours. Apart from this case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing into a case filed by Kamal Sharma – promoter of Golden Rabbit ad agency – alleging TRP inflation in Lucknow, transferred by UP govt.