Mumbai police crime branch, which is probing the alleged fake TRP racket, on Tuesday said an arrested accused has claimed he got money from two TV news channels, to pay to certain empanelled households. An official release by Mumbai police said the channels from which the arrested accused was receiving money include Republic TV and News Nation.
Republic TV rubbished the claim, saying it was part of the Mumbai police chief's efforts to target the TV channel. The accused, a resident of adjoining Thane, was arrested by the Crime Intelligence Unit after he surrendered before the crime branch on Sunday, the police release said.
During interrogation, he confessed that he has been accepting money from Republic and News Nation channels, the release said. It was also revealed during the interrogation that there was a money trail of transactions between Hansa and ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which operates Republic TV channel, the release said.
Hansa Research Group Private Limited is responsible for installing and maintaining the Bar-O-Meter of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). BARC functions under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, and installed the meters in some homes to monitor TV consumption and calculate the TRPs, police had said.
It is based on these TRPs that marketers place advertisements and manipulation of the numbers may have resulted in losses, they had said. "Preliminary investigations also revealed that these accused persons have manipulated the sampling metering services by inducing the barometer users by paying them periodically to watch particular TV channels," the release issued on Tuesday evening said.
Many people in whose homes these meters were installed have accepted that they benefited monetarily for keeping their TV sets on even if they didn't actually watch it, the release said. Mumbai police have arrested 10 persons, including owners of two channels, in the case so far.
In a statement, Republic TV said, "In the latest fake news story, attempts have now been made to spread a false narrative that Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd (Hansa Research) paid money to the Republic Media Network." "It is categorically clarified that Hansa Research has never done any business with Republic," the statement said. It claimed that Mumbai police planted a fake story in media. Slamming Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami said, "I am calling upon the people of India to fight this madness that the rogue cop and his insecure political masters have unleashed." .