The Mumbai commissioner Parambir Singh told the media that the three channels, all based in Mumbai, have been manipulating and paying households to show higher television rating points (TRPs).

News editors including Rajdeep Sardesai Sonia Singh Zakka Jacob and Rahul Kanwal
news TRP Thursday, October 08, 2020 - 19:03

The Mumbai police's explosive press conference on a 'false TRP racket' allegedly being carried out by three channels including Republic TV has led to responses from editors of major television networks. While Republic TV's founder and Editor Arnab Goswami has challenged the Commissioner to arrest him, other editors have called for a fair trial.

The Mumbai police Commissioner Parambir Singh told the media that the three channels, all based in Mumbai, have been manipulating and paying households to show higher television rating points (TRPs). Parambir Singh explained that installation and the maintenance of these barometres is done by an agency named Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd. During the investigation, it was allegedly found that former employees of Hansa, a Mumbai based global market research company were compromising data and sharing it with television channels and the households where the barometres were installed were being paid. The other two channels named in this alleged racket are Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema. The owners of these Marathi channels have already been arrested and the police have said that those connected to Republic TV will be arrested if they are linked to the crime.

"Mumbai Police Commissioner suspects current employees of Hansa research could also be involved in the scam. Ex employees of Hansa have been arrested. Arnab Goswami to be called in for questioning for fixing ratings. Summons being issued shortly," said India Today News director Rahul Kanwal. "Unlike the Kangaroo Court he runs, I believe Arnab Goswami deserves a fair trial and the Mumbai Police needs to prove these charges in a court of law not in a press conference. The weight of evidence is what matters most. Your view or bias doesn’t matter. What matters is proof," he added.

The channel's other editor Rajdeep Sardesai meanwhile tweeted, "Breaking: Mumbai police comr claims to have busted fake TRP racket.A local Marathi channel, a movie channel and Republic tv accused of manipulating ratings by bribing households. 2 owners arrested, third to be summoned. Crime proceeds to be confiscated. More details awaited." He did not offer any opinion.

NDTV's Editorial Director Sonia Singh reacted that the whole problem was that the system was broken.

Meanwhile CNN-News18 editor Zakka Jacob tweeted 'Owners, promoters etc of fraud channels to be called, no matter how big they are: Mumbai CP' with the hashtags - #RepublicRiggedRatings #FakeTRPRacket.

"Mumbai police commissioner claims to have busted fake TRP racket.A local Marathi channel, a movie channel and Republic tv accused of manipulating ratings by bribing households. Two owners arrested, third to be summoned. Crime proceeds to be confiscated. More details awaited," he tweeted with an emoji of folded hands.

Marya Shakil from CNN-News 18 meanwhile published a thread on #TRPScam.

Arnab himself went live on Republic TV to challenge the Commissioner and dared him to make an arrest. He alleged that he and his channel were being targeted for their coverage on the Sushant Singh Rajput case. He further alleged that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and 'Antonio Maino' (former name of the Congress President Sonia Gandhi) were responsible for the controversy.

"We have to fight the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai police. As of now there is only one channel in the country that is exposing the truth. BARC has not mentioned Republic in a single complaint. Parambir Singh in his desperation, has made up facts. Why is he threatening us? He says he will close my channels and accounts," said Arnab. He claimed that the Commissioner had been targeting his channel for sometime now. "I am going to sue Parambir Singh for criminal defamation, for trying besmudge our reputation. Instead of sending your men, you come to my house, my office, arrest me if you can," he stated. 

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