The Mumbai Police on Thursday claimed that news channels were running a “false TRP racket” naming in their official statement Republic TV which recently made headlines for being the most viewed channel in India. Other news broadcasters accused in the case are Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema. According to officials in charge of the investigation, the media houses under the police scanner had asked households to keep the channel running throughout the day. Further, the police claimed that several English news channels were kept turned on even in uneducated, non-English speaking homes.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh held a press conference earlier today stating that the alleged scam affects the entire TV advertising industry worth an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 crores. Singh said that the police had investigated the case as even a small change in the TRP rating will have major implications on the advertising revenue of the media company. The Mumbai Police has so far arrested owners of two channels, while a notice has been sent to Republic TV. According to sources, Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief of the channel is expected to be called in for questioning. The police have also added that all revenue earned from false TRP will be considered as proceeds of a crime through the investigation.
The TV viewership in India is measured by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) through barometers whose locations are confidential. The police have alleged that during their investigation it was found that companies to whom BARC had outsourced the installation of the barometers had divulged the information.
However, Republic TV has responded to the police investigation alleging that all accusations against the channel are false. It further said that the actions of the Mumbai Police were due to its questioning of their handling of the Sushant Singh Rajput death case and the Palghar case. The channel took to its official Twitter page to also state that it will take legal action and file a criminal defamation case against the Mumbai Police.