New Delhi: Mumbai police on Tuesday said that Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami paid senior officials at BARC, the TV ratings agency, “lakhs” of rupees so that they would fudge his channel’s rating.
According to police, BARC’s former CEO Partho Dasgupta, arrested last week, is one among the people who were bribed by Goswami.
On Monday, Mumbai police told a local court that he had, in alleged connivance with another ex-senior BARC official and Goswami, manipulated the television rating points (TRP) of Republic TV and its Hindi arm.
The Mumbai police’s Crime Branch, in its remand note submitted before a magistrate’s court, sought further custody of Dasgupta, claiming he was the “mastermind” of the alleged TRP scam. It said Dasgupta and other accused (both arrested and wanted), in the conspiracy, allegedly manipulated the TRP of specific TV news channels to obtain financial gain.
Romil Ramgarhia, former BARC COO, also allegedly connived with Dasgupta for manipulation of TRP of certain news channels, the police claimed, according to reports.
Police in its remand note alleged: “Dasgupta misused his official position and manipulated TRP of specific news channels broadcast by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd such as Republic Bharat Hindi and Republic TV English”.
“Dasgupta, while serving as CEO of BARC, got involved in the conspiracy along with Arnab Goswami and others for manipulation of TRP. The police remand note alleged that Goswami has given “payment in lakhs” to Dasgupta from time to time, reports said quoting police statement.
It alleged that Dasgupta used this money to procure jewellery and other expensive articles which have been seized from his residence.
The magistrate, after perusing the remand note, on Monday extended the police custody of Dasgupta, who was arrested last week, till December 30, the report said.
The police said his further custodial interrogation was required to ascertain if more payments were made and if the same manipulation was done for other news channels too.
It further alleged that Dasgupta, while serving as BARC CEO, was privy to confidential information on TRP ratings of all channels and a probe was on to find out if the same was revealed to others.
Quoting police, the report said that BARC had carried out a random test and collected samples of 40 weeks during which TRP of ‘Times Now’ news channel was higher, but allegedly, with rigging, the rating of Republic TV was increased.
This was allegedly done by tampering with barometers, the police said.
Pertinently, Dasgupta is the 15th person to be arrested in the case related to alleged rigging of TRP of some news channels.