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Arnab paid former BARC CEO to manipulate Republic: Cops TRPs | India News

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MUMBAI: In their pretrial detention request seeking increased custody of the arrested former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) executive director Partho Dasgupta, Mumbai police said that Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami had paid Dasgupta to manipulate TRPs of the channel since its launch in 2017.
On Monday, a metropolitan court extended Dasgupta’s police custody until December 30. He was arrested on December 24.
Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze, who is leading the investigation into the TRP scam, claimed that the police obtained evidence of various payments. “In 2017, Goswami paid him US $ 6,000 at a flagship hotel in Lower Parel and sponsored a trip for Dasgupta and his family to Switzerland and Denmark; in 2018, he paid Rs 20 lakh in cash; and in 2019 he paid Rs 10 lakh at a hotel near the airport, ”claimed Waze.
The criminal branch of the city police is investigating the TRP manipulation scam where the audience figures of some channels were artificially inflated by bribing the people involved in the process. BARC India measures the audience of TV channels, which is crucial for broadcasters to decide on advertising.
Waze said that when Goswami launched Republic TV in 2017, he enlisted Dasgupta’s help in manipulating viewership ratings and brought the channel to the number one spot. They had known each other since 2004, Waze said.
The takeback app said Dasgupta used BARC’s measurement science analytics division, used to track TV channel viewership, to manipulate TRPs.
“Those who helped Dasgupta in his office were generously rewarded with cash, gifts and promotions. Initially, they adopted a simple modus operandi where during BARC sampling, the collected raw data was edited and fed to a favorable result, ” Waze said. Waze claimed that Dasgupta told police that he invested the money in real estate and decorations. Police seized Dasgupta’s laptop, cell phones, a watch and silver jewelry.
While Dasgupta’s attorney, Kailash Gumre, was not available for comment, Goswami did not respond to emails. One of Goswami’s lawyers, Sanket Shukla, said he would return, but had not responded as of press time. Waze said police have also come across certain email exchanges and WhatsApp chats between Dasgupta and the arrested BARC COO Romil Ramgarhia, discussing TRP’s manipulations. The development comes two days after Joint Police (Crime) Commissioner Milind Bharambe said the ratings were rigged to push English news channel Times Now from first place to No. 2 and make Republic TV the world’s leading channel. news number one. Similarly, another news channel, CNN-News 18 (formerly CNN-IBN) was pushed to third place from its second position, Bharambe said.
The criminal branch is investigating the role of six channels in inflating audience figures: Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema, News Nation, Mahamovies and the Wow music channel. Police have made 15 arrests in the case so far and charged the people arrested with conspiring with each other. Police filed an FIR in the case on October 6 and filed a charge sheet in court on November 24 naming the six channels.

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