Mumbai: In a development that has rattled TV media industry, Mumbai Police on Thursday claimed to have busted a racket that involved private television channels manipulating their Television Rating Points (TRP). Also Read - Sushant Singh Rajput Case: FIR Lodged Against Fake Accounts Trolling Mumbai Police Commissioner

Notably, three channels are under the scanner and one of them is Republic TV, police commissioner Param Bir Singh said. The other two are local Mumbai channels–Fast Marathi and Box Cinema, whose owners have been arrested for manipulating viewership ratings.

Addressing a press conference, Singh told reporters that news anchor Arnab Goswami, the promoter of Republic TV, will soon be questioned in the case of TRP fraud.

”Officials of Republic TV, which claims the highest TRPs or Television Rating Points among news channels, will be summoned today or tomorrow”, said the officer.

Modus operandi

Singh alleged that media organisations used to offer a monthly payment of Rs 400-500 households as a bribe to keep their channel switched on all the time.

“Household data were used by the channels for rating manipulation and they received illegal advertising funds. This will be considered proceeds of cheating. There was false TRP spreading. TRP ratings were being bought. The manipulation was mainly for advertising revenues,” he added.

The officer also claimed that even in uneducated homes, some English news channels remained switched on.

“In some cases, people who did not understand English were keeping English channels like Republic on through the day. We have recorded their statements,” the Commissioner said.

Arnab Goswami responds

In response, Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief of Republic, declared that he would sue the Mumbai Police commissioner and said that he is making false allegations “because we have questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation”.

“Republic will fight back, Republic will continue its investigation into the Sushant Singh Rajput case, the Palghar case and any other case,” a statement from the channel read.

Here is the full statement:

“Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh has made false allegations against Republic TV because we have questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation. Republic TV will file a criminal defamation case against Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. There is not a single BARC report that mentions Republic TV. The people of India know the truth.

Mr. Param Bir Singh’s investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput case is under a cloud and this is a desperate measure because of Republic TV’s reportage on Palghar, the Sushant Singh Rajput case or any other case. This kind of targeting only strengthens the resolve of everyone at Republic TV to push for the truth even harder. Param Bir Singh stands completely exposed today, since BARC has not mentioned Republic in any single complaint. He should issue an official apology and get ready to face us in court.”