New Delhi: Republic TV anchor and editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami reportedly paid US$ 12,000 in two separate holidays and a total of Rs 40 lakhs to manipulate rating over a span of more than three years, former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India Partho Dasgupta claimed in a handwritten statement to Mumbai Police.Also Read - Bulli Bai Case: Mastermind's Intention Was To Get Publicity, Make Own Identity, Says Police
A report by The Indian Express quoted Dasgupta’s statement in a 3,600-page supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police on January 11 which also includes a BARC forensic audit report, WhatsApp chats between the two, and statements from 59 persons, including former COO of BARC Romil Ramgarhia and Republic Media Network CEO Vikas Khanchandani. Also Read - 'Bulli Bai' Row: Bengaluru Student Arrested, Women Believed To be Mastermind Detained From Uttarakhand
In his statement, Dasgupta wrote: “I have known Arnab Goswami since 2004. We used to work together in Times Now. I joined BARC as CEO in 2013. Arnab Goswami launched Republic in 2017. Even before launching Republic TV, he would talk to me about plans for the launch and indirectly hint at helping him to get good ratings to his channel. Goswami knew very well that I know how the TRP system works. He also alluded to helping me out in the future.” Also Read - 'Bulli Bai' Row: 21-Year-Old Bengaluru Man Detained By Mumbai Police
He further stated, “I worked with my team to ensure manipulation of TRP ratings that made Republic TV get number 1 rating. This would have continued from 2017 to 2019. Towards this, in 2017 Arnab Goswami had personally met me at St Regis hotel, Lower Parel and given me 6000 dollars cash for my France and Switzerland family trip…also in 2019 Arnab Goswami had personally met me at St Regis and given me 6000 dollars for my Sweden and Denmark family trip. Also in 2017, Goswami had personally met me at ITC Parel hotel and given me Rs 20 lakh cash… also in 2018 and 2019… Goswami met me at ITC hotel Parel and gave me Rs 10 lakhs each time…”
Dasgupta’s lawyer Arjun Singh has refuted this allegation.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Republic Media group has accused rival TV channel Times Now of manipulating TRPs, suppressing facts and misleading the public. It has also said there has been collusion of corporate and political interests to target its Editor-in-Chief Goswami.