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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

TRP rigging scam: No evidence found against Republic TV, mentions ED chargesheet

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As reported by PTI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed its chargesheet before a special court in Mumbai, in the alleged TRP rigging scam and has claimed in it that no evidence was found against Republic TV. The central agency further said that the Mumbai police’s investigation into the matter was ‘at variance’ with its probe. It was further mentioned in the chargesheet that evidence was found against some regional and entertainment channels, which were involved in manipulating TRP or Television Rating Points, by paying sample or panel households.

Cognizance of the chargesheet was taken on Wednesday by Judge MG Deshpande of the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court.

The central agency had filed an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), which is equivalent to a police FIR, back in November 2020 and the ECIR followed the First Information Report registered by the Mumbai police against Republic TV, two Marathi channels and a few individuals for the alleged TRP manipulation.

The scam had come to the fore when rating agency BARC, which is the Broadcast Audience Research Council had filed a complaint through the Hansa Research Group.

The ED chargesheet also stated that there was a wider conspiracy between channel viewers, regional managers, and agents to influence the panel households to watch certain channels for financial gains.

“TRP is dependent on small statistical data of nearly 1800 households in Mumbai and 45000 households all over India. It is very difficult to pinpoint when the manipulation started, but various channel owners manipulated the system for a considerable period of time”, the chargesheet read.

It has been found out that channels like Maha Movies, Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema, and others were involved in a criminal conspiracy with a former top executive of the Hansa group, Bompalli Mistry, under the garb of a cable reach survey. The ED mentions how the alleged role of Republic TV (ArG Outliers) in bribing or influencing the panel households was thoroughly investigated, and it was then determined that the probe carried out by the Mumbai police was at variance with the ED investigation.

The chargesheet states how the panel households denied having taken any money in lieu of watching Republic TV or Republic Bharat, and the regional managers, who confessed to paying panel households to watch specific television channels, denied doing the same for Republic TV.

The chargesheet reads, “No evidence of Republic TV or Republic Bharat indulging in these practices was forthcoming either by the statement or by digital data evidence”.

“The forensic audit report relied upon by the Mumbai police was superficial and based on the analysis of limited aspects”, it further added.

Bompalli Mistry, along with all the channels like Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi have been named as the accused in the ED chargesheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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