Mumbai: Romil Ramgarhia, former Chief Operating Officer of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), who was arrested on Thursday, has been remanded to police custody till December 19 by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Esplanade, Mumbai.
Ramgarhia was arrested by the Mumbai Police for his alleged involvement in the fake Television Rating Points (TRP) scam busted by the Mumbai Police.
Since October 8, the Mumbai Police has arrested several persons alleged to have been involved in the fake TRP scam.
Among those arrested, Amit Dave, owner of Mahamovies; Vikas Khanchandani, Chief Executive Officer of Republic TV; Ghanshyam Singh, Assistant Vice President of Distribution, Republic TV, and Shirish Pattanshetty, co-promoter of Fakt Marathi channel were granted bail by Mumbai Courts.
Another accused, Priya Mukherjee, Republic TV COO, was granted anticipatory bail from Karnataka High Court as well as Mumbai Sessions Court.
The Mumbai Police had announced, through a press release that they had busted the fake TRP scam case which is stated to involve an amount of over Rs. 100 crores.
The BARC, an organisation under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, had been tasked with measuring the TRPs with the help of barometers.
This installation of barometers was done by a company called Hansa Research Group. The data on the location of the barometer was confidential and known to Hansa, apart from the BARC.
The Crime Branch initiated investigation in the TRP scam after they discovered, through certain employees of the Hansa Group, that ‘sampling metering services’ were being manipulated by paying people to watch particular TV channels.
The Mumbai Police also filed their first chargesheet in the case in the last week of November, incriminating several employees from Hansa Research Group and Republic TV, amongst others.
Hansa Group approached the Bombay High Court seeking an order to restrain the Crime Branch officers from harassing Hansa research employees for allegedly coercing them to give false information against Republic TV.
They have received protection from coercive action after the Mumbai Police gave an undertaking in Court that as long as the employees of Hansa came for interrogation twice a week, no coercive action will be taken against them.
In another plea filed by Republic TV, challenging the acts of the Mumbai Police during their investigation in the TRP Scam case, the Mumbai Police gave an undertaking before the Bombay High Court that they would continue with their investigation on the alleged involvement of the Republic TV in the TRP Scam without taking any coercive steps against the “maalak, chaalak and sambandhit vyakti” of the Republic TV till January 6, 2021.