Republic TV, accused of TRP scam, urges Mumbai police to suspend investigation, files petition in SC
On Thursday, Mumbai Police issued a statement accusing Republic TV and two other local channels, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema of trying to fudge the television ratings. At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh said that four people have been arrested on charges of rigging Television Rating Points (TRP).
For further investigations, the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai crime branch issued summons against Republic TV’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Shiva Subramaniyam Sundaram, to record his statement and asked him to join the investigation at 11 am on Saturday. Summons were issued on the basis of allegations that the news channel paid people to keep up its ratings and illegally earn more ad revenue.
“However, he did not appear before the probe team. He informed the police that the channel has approached the Supreme Court and that there will be a hearing on the matter within a week. Citing this, he requested the police not to record his statement,” the official said.
The police department believed that there were substantial grounds to prove that Sundaram was “acquainted with certain facts and circumstances of the matter and the same are required to be ascertained”.
Sundaram did not appear to give his statement and cited “personal commitments” to request the rescheduling of the summons. Meanwhile, the channel asked the police department to suspend the probe, referring to the petition filed in Supreme Court as a reason for the same.
The petition was”likely to be listed soon” and the channel requested Mumbai police“not to proceed with any further investigation in so far as Republic TV and its employees are concerned”, a statement issued Saturday afternoon said.
Republic strongly condemned the allegations imposed by Mumbai police and accused the latter of undertaking a vengeful actas the channel raised questions against the police investigation into the demise of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The news channel’s senior journalist, Arnab Goswami, also threatened to sue Param Bir Singh over the allegations and insisted “not a single BARC report that mentioned Republic TV”.
“The people of India know the truth,” he added. The TRP racket was exposed as a follow up to the complaint was filed earlier this month by Hansa Research, a company appointed by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), an organisation which tracks viewership. Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd, which installs “people metres” to measure TRP, said that some former employees of these channels shared details of the households being tracked and helped manipulate ratings.