New Delhi: Submitting a remand note to a magistrate’s court on Monday, the Mumbai police alleged that Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami has paid “lakhs” to senior officials of TV ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), including former CEO Partho Dasgupta, to manipulate the channel’s TRP (television rating point).Also Read - TRP List Week 18: Anupamaa Rules, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai Shares 3rd Spot But Where is Naagin 6?
In its remand note, the Mumbai police’s Crime Branch has also sought further custody of Dasgupta, claiming he was the “mastermind” of the alleged TRP scam and behind the fudged viewership numbers and data for financial gain. It said Dasgupta and other accused (both arrested and wanted), in conspiracy, allegedly manipulated the TRP of specific TV news channels to obtain financial gain. Also Read - TRP Report Week 50: Anupamaa and Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin Continue To Rule, Kumkum Bhagya Enters List
Romil Ramgarhia, former BARC COO, also allegedly connived with Dasgupta for manipulation of TRP of certain news channels, the police claimed. Also Read - TRP Report Week 42: Anupamaa Continues To Rule, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai Joins List As Mohsin-Shivangi Quit Show
“Dasgupta misused his official position and manipulated TRP of specific news channels broadcast by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd such as Republic Bharat Hindi and Republic TV English,” the police alleged in its remand note.
“Dasgupta, while serving as CEO of BARC, got involved in the conspiracy along with Arnab Goswami and others for manipulation of TRP.
The police remand note alleged that Goswami has given “payment in lakhs” to Dasgupta from time to time. It alleged that Dasgupta used this money to procure jewellery and other expensive articles which have been seized from his residence.
The magistrate, after perusing the remand note, on Monday extended the police custody of Dasgupta, who was arrested last week, till December 30. The police said his further custodial interrogation was required to ascertain if more payments were made and if the same manipulation was done for other news channels too.
It further alleged that Dasgupta, while serving as BARC CEO, was privy to confidential information on TRP ratings of all channels and a probe was on to find out if the same was revealed to others.
The police said BARC had carried out random test and collected samples of 40 weeks during which TRP of ‘Times Now’ news channel was higher, but allegedly, with rigging, the rating of Republic TV was increased. This was allegedly done by tampering with barometers, the police added.
Dasgupta is the 15th person to be arrested in the case related to alleged rigging of TRP of some news channels. Meanwhile, Republic TV has denied any wrongdoing.