Mumbai: The Mumbai Police on Thursday ‘wanted the nation to know’ that they have busted a ‘false TRP racket’ run by Republic TV and three other channels. The police claims that households were apparently bribed to keep channels switched on the entire day.
“The city police is probing a scam involving manipulation of TRPs. Republic-TV headed by Arnab Goswami, Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema are involved in distorting the apparatus used by BARC to rate television channels,” Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh told reporters during a press conference in Thursday.
The TRP is calculated on the basis of TV channel viewership. The households, on a monthly payment of Rs 400-500, were asked to run the channels continuously even if they were not home. The BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) releases weekly rating points. BARC officials are also being questioned in connection with the case.
“There are 2,000 barometers installed in Mumbai to monitor TRPs. BARC has given confidential contracts to an agency called ‘Hansa’ for monitoring these barometers,” Singh said.
He added that owners of Marathi channels Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema have been arrested under sections 409 and 420 of IPC.
“Promoters and directors of Republic TV will be summoned and questioned, Commissioner Param Bir Singh said. Summons will be sent to Republic officials, including Director Arnab Goswami on Thursday and they will be asked to appear before the investigating team,” the commissioner said.
Singh added that the bank accounts of the channels would be investigated along with the funds they receive from advertisers, NDTV reported. “If any crime was revealed, the accounts would be seized and more action would be taken,” he said.
The developments came a day after Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said: “The present system of TRP-oriented programmes needed a rethink. It was evident that the avoidable rating has to be stopped or improved”.