The Mumbai Police has claimed that there is evidence to prove that Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami paid kickbacks “in lakhs” to former senior official of the Broadcast Audience Research Council Partho Dasgupta for manipulating the Television Rating Points (TRP) of Republic TV (English) and Republic Bharat (Hindi) news channels.
The allegation has been made in a remand application seeking extension of police custody of Dasgupta who was arrested on December 24, 2020 for his alleged involvement in the fake Television Rating Points (TRP) scam.
In their application, the Mumbai Police has claimed that during their investigation they came across evidence that showed Goswami had paid Dasgupta in return for his assistance in manipulating the TRP.
It has been alleged that they found at Dasgupta’s house, gold and other precious items allegedly purchased with the money received from Goswami.
BARC is an organisation responsible for installation of barometers which is used to measure the TRPs. It is the case of Mumbai Police that Dasgupta had taken undue advantage of his position in BARC to carry out the illegal manipulation work.
To show a higher viewership of Republic channels, Dasgupta ended up manipulating figures of the Times Now channel which incidentally had high viewership, it has been contended.
Dasgupta, taking advantage of his position and knowledge falsely increased TRP ratings of some channels and reduced TRP ratings of other channels, the application alleges.
In order to further investigate how the financial transactions happened and how the money was utilised, the police have sought for extension of custody.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Esplanade, Mumbai had remanded earlier Dasgupta to police custody till December 28, 2020, which got extended to December 30, 2020.
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, who is the COO of Republic TV, was granted anticipatory bail from Karnataka High Court as well as Mumbai Sessions Court.
Romil Ramgarhia, former Chief Operating Officer of the BARC was also arrested in the TRP Scam case by the Mumbai Police. He was granted bail by the Esplanade CMM on December 24.