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Republic Paid Us Directly To Manipulate TRP, Magistrate Witnesses Testify | India News

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MUMBAI: Four people have testified to a magistrate that two television stations made payments directly to keep the channels on for a fixed period to inflate viewership numbers, said city police officials investigating the TRP scam. They will be treated as witnesses in the police case against these channels.
Three of them have appeared before a magistrate saying that Republic TV made them payments, while the fourth witness made a similar statement against Box Cinema. Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh confirmed that three witnesses had named Republic officials as involved in manipulating the hearing. He declined to elaborate, saying the investigations were at a crucial stage and that any disclosure at this stage would hamper the investigation.
Republic TV, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi are being investigated by the criminal branch on charges of alleged audience manipulation, which drives publicity.
The statements were made by witnesses under Section 164 of the CrPC, which deals with the recording and confession of statements by a metropolitan magistrate or judicial magistrate during the course of the investigation, police said. The magistrate records the statements only after he is satisfied that they are made voluntarily. The police officers said that it could not now be alleged that the police officers had obtained these confessions from the witnesses.
Of the five people arrested so far, three, including a former Hansa Research employee, have told police they were part of the scam and were making payments to households.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) had contracted the job of installing peoplemetres in Hansa. The manipulation takes the form of bribes paid to households to keep their televisions connected to a particular channel, a police officer said. “These confessions will strengthen our case,” he added.
Meanwhile, Assistant Inspector Sachin Waze recorded Republic TV Senior Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor’s statement for three hours on Thursday. On Wednesday, the police had recorded statements by the channel’s executive editor, Niranjan Narayanswamy.
Kapoor was also questioned about the television broadcast of a document (allegedly the FIR copy in the TRP scam) on October 10. Sources said the duo refused to release information about how they gained access to the FIR copy.

Times of India

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