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Republic TV has moved the Supreme Court challenging the summons issued to the network in relation to the TRP scam claimed to have been unearthed by Mumbai Police.
The petition filed in the Apex Court challenges the October 9 summons issued to the CFO of the Republic Media Network in relation to investigation in FIR CR No. 143 of 2020.
The CFO, S Sundaram has requested the Mumbai Police to halt probe in relation to the network and its employees till the matter is heard in the Supreme Court. It is also informed that a request for an early hearing has been made.
On October 8, the Mumbai Police arrested owners of channels Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema after their Detection Crime Branch busted a TRP racket which the police suspect involves an amount of over Rs 100 crore.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh announced that the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Borivali has granted custody over the owners of the Marathi channel to the Mumbai Police till October 9.
He added that the owners have been charged with offences under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code.
Singh apprised the media that the Mumbai Police is presently investigating the amount that was received for manipulating TRP ratings.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), an organisation under the UnionMinistry of Information, Broadcasting, and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India measure TRPs with the help of barometers.
This installation of barometers was done by a company called Hansa Research Group. The data on the location of the barometer was confidential and known to Hansa apart from the BARC.
The Crime Branch discovered that some employees of Hansa have been manipulating the 'sampling metering services' by paying people to watch particular TV channels. The Crime Branch arrested one Vishal Ved Bhandari who revealed that he used to increase the TRP of media channels by offering money to panel homes.
During their interrogation, these homeowners agreed that they had received money to keep their TV sets switched on to a particular channel, even if they did not want to watch it.
Republic TV has since issued a public statement asserting that the channel has not even been named in the FIR, and that only India Today has been named. It has thus questioned why it is being dragged into the case.