Lucknow: The Central Bureau of Investigation registered a case to probe the allegations of TRP manipulation against unknown individuals. While the FIR was originally registered at the Hazratganj Police station in Lucknow reportedly on the complaint of an advertising company promoter, the Uttar Pradesh government recommended the transfer of the case to the CBI. As per sources, the complainant has alleged that TRPs are manipulated in lieu of payment.
Sources revealed that CBI’s intervention was necessary as the investigation involved the jurisdiction of several states. The Special Crime Branch of the agency will deal with this case and its officials have left for Lucknow. Further details regarding the FIR are still awaited.
Addressing a press briefing on October 8, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh accused Republic TV and two other channels of rigging TRPs by paying viewers to keep their channels on for longer periods. But the FIR registered on October 6, 2020, made no mention of Republic TV, Republic Bharat, Republic World, or any affiliate of the Republic Media Network. Moreover, an audit inquiry by BARC confirmed that 5 households were indeed bribed to watch India Today daily for a minimum of two hours from November 2019 to May 2020. Even the FIR registered was against India Today and not Republic TV.
However, interestingly, the Mumbai Police’s news conference named Republic TV. Additionally, the Supreme Court raised concerns about Param Bir Singh’s statements in the media regarding the case. Appearing for the Maharashtra government before the Bombay HC bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik on Monday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal stated that Republic has not been named in the FIR. During the hearing, the HC also observed that Arnab Goswami is not an accused in the case.
Furthermore, the Republic Media Network has decided to sue Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh for Rs.200 crore as damages. This entails Rs.100 crore each for damage caused to the reputation of Arnab Goswami and the Republic Media Network respectively.