MUMBAI: The city police on Thursday claimed to have busted a fake Television Rating Points (TRP) racket that involved about Rs 40,000 crore advertisement revenue.
Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh said that the Republic TV and two other entertainment channels namely Fakta Marathi and Box Movie were part of this racket.
“The Mumbai crime branch unearthed this racket. These three channels were manipulating the TRP to get huge advertisement revenue. The BARC agency, which does the TRP work, had appointed Hansa, a private firm for the installation of TRP meters. In India, a total of 30,000 such TRP meters are installed including 2,000 in Mumbai. As per these meters viewers rating, the TRP is counted,” Singh said.
He added that former employees of Hansa shared the confidential information about households where the TRP meters are installed for these three channels.
“These three channels approached the TRP meter-installed household and asked them to watch them in return for money. There are some people who do not understand English but were watching Republic TV for money. Even, the members of these households kept the TV on while they were out after locking their houses,” Mumbai police commissioner said.
He said that they have arrested owners of two channels. The owner and directors of Republic TV would be soon called for questioning and necessary actions will be taken, the commissioner further said.
“These channels illegally manipulated the TRP rating to earn illegal revenue through advertisements. This is a criminal breach of trust and cheating. We will check the accounts of these channels with help of forensic experts. We will also check the past TRP and advertisements,” Param Bir Singh said.
Meanwhile, Republic TV denied the allegations saying that the Mumbai Police chief has made false allegations against them.
“We questioned the Mumbai police in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, and therefore, they are targeting us. We will file the defamation case against the Mumbai police soon,” said Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief and owner of Republic TV.