The Mumbai Police has named Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-chief of Republic TV as an accused in the Television Rating Points Scam(TRP), nine months after registering an FIR in the case and ex- Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh naming the channel as being involved in the scam.
The police named Goswami and four others from ARG Outlier Media (that owns Republic TV) in their 1800 page supplementary charge sheet submitted in the Esplanade Metropolitan Magistrate Court.
The other accused include COO Priya Mukherjee, Shivendu Mulelkar and Shiva Sundaram, earlier shown as wanted accused.
So far the police had chargeeted 15 people in the case, including former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Partho Dasgupta and Republic TVs CEO Vikash Khanchandani.
The charges applied to relate to cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy etc.
On March 24, 2021, the Bombay High Court granted Goswami limited protection from arrest in his petition alleging ‘serious malafides’ against the police, especially against the then CP Param Bir Singh.
Goswami, and Republic TV owner – ARG Outlier Media’s plea sought to quash the October 6, 2020 FIR and two subsequent charge sheets in the case. They claimed that despite not being named as accused in the FIR or the charge sheet, the channel and its ‘chalak-malak’ were put in the suspect category to keep them on tenterhooks and harass them.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale had admitted the plea and directed the police to give Goswami an advance notice of three days if they decided to summon him or take any coercive action against him. The police undertook to complete the probe against him within 12 weeks.
On October 6, 2020, the police registered an FIR under Sections 409, 420, 120-B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on a complaint that certain individuals in whose houses barometers had been installed, were bribed to increase a channel’s TRP.
The police claimed that channels were paying money to intermediaries like employees of Hansa Research Group — which measures TRPs on behalf of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) — to boost the TRPs.