Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami had paid “lakhs of rupees” to former CEO of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Partho Dasgupta, who was arrested last week.
BARC is the industry body that measures TRPs.
The reason behind arrest is Dasgupta received kickbacks from Arnab is to “increase” the Television Rating Points (TRPs) of the two Republic news channels, the Mumbai Police said in a report submitted before a court on Monday
Police also sought Dasgupta’s remand for further investigation .
This is the first time that the police have spelt out Goswami’s alleged role in the TRP case. “ ..
When Dasgupta was the Broadcast Audience Research Council, or BARC, CEO, Arnab Goswami and other accused in the case conspired to illegally increase the TRPs of Republic Bharat Hindi news channel and Republic TV English news channel.
In order to do that, Goswami on several occasions paid Dasgupta lakhs of rupees, it has been established in the investigation,” the police told the metropolitan magistrate’s court, as per a report in The Indian Express.
According to the report, Dasgupta used the money to purchase jewellery and other valuables that were seized from his residence.
“The purchases include one Tag Heuer watch worth approximately Rs 1 lakh and imitation jewellery and stones worth Rs 2.22 lakh,” police said.
Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze was quoted as saying by the newspaper that during questioning, Dasgupta confessed that Goswami had met him at least three times in separate hotels in Mumbai, and “made payments worth lakhs in cash, including once in US dollars.”
Last week, police said the recent arrests were made after they received a third party audit report sought by the current BARC management.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Milind Bharambe, Joint CP (Crime) of Mumbai Police said an audit of BARC data had revealed that the ratings of channels like Times Now had been reduced so that Republic would top the TRP points.
“After the new dispensation took over at BARC, forensic audit of data was organised and the third-party audit team submitted its report in July 2020.
As per the report, the manipulations have been going on at least from 2016-2019,” Bharambe had said.
Mumbai Police had registered an FIR in October alleging the fudging of TRPs by certain TV channels.
In a press conference, Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh had said that investigations had found that three channels — Republic TV, Box Cinemas and Fakt Marathi — were prima facie involved in manipulating TRPs.