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Mumbai Police arrested owners of channels Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema after their Detection Crime Branch busted a TRP racket which the police suspects involves an amount of over 100 crores.
Today's events explained in one slide
Press Conference by Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh announced that the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Borivali has granted custody of 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).
Singh apprised the media that the Mumbai Police is presently investigating the amount which was received for for manipulating the TRP ratings.
Based on these investigations, they will simultaneously interrogate the advertisers to find out if they were conspiring in the crime or victims of the crime.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) an organisation under the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India measured the 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.
Crime Branch discovered that some employees of Hansa have been manipulating the 'sampling metering services' by paying people to watch particular TV channels. Crime Branch arrested one Vishal Ved Bhandari who revealed that he used to increase TRP of media channels by offering money to panel homes.
During their interrogation with the people who were induced, these home owners agreed that they had received money to even keep their TV sets switched on to a particular channel, even if they did not want to watch it.
During the Press Conference, the Mumbai Police Commissioner divulged the nature of the investigation as below.
Republic TV response
Republic TV in its post claimed that the channel has not even been named in the FIR and only India Today has been named. It questioned why is Republic TV being dragged?
On examining the FIR, which was registered on October 6, 2020 India Today channel and other media companies have been identified in the complaint. There is no name of Republic TV in the complaint filed by the Mumbai Police on October 6, 2020.
Why is Republic TV being investigated when the FIR is in the name of India Today?
Mumbai Police issued notice to BARC on October 7, where it said Vishal Ved Bhandari who has been arrested has claimed that he manipulated barometers to watch Republic TV for monetary consideration. Therefore Republic TV is being investigated, according to Mumbai Police.
However, the FIR only names India Today and other media companies without the name of Republic TV mentioned in the FIR.
Republic TV's name is mentioned only in the notice given the BARC under Section 91 CRPC requesting information on Republic TV.
Mumbai Police has not given any statement during the Press Conference on whether they invesitigated India Today or yet to investigate or any other details regarding the investigation around India Today.