Arrested ex-CEO of BARC was `mastermind' of fake TRP racket: police

Last Updated 25 December 2020, 15:04 IST

Mumbai police claimed on Friday that the former CEO of the Broadcast Research Audience Council (BARC) Parth Dasgupta played the main role in the manipulation of TRP of certain TV channels including Republic TV.

Republic Media Network, in a statement earlier in the day, said that the police's allegations were laughable. The sole objective of the probe was to target Republic TV, it said.

The crime branch of Mumbai Police on Thursday nabbed 55-year-old Dasgupta in Pune district when he was heading for Pune from Goa. On Friday he was produced before a Mumbai court which sent him in police custody till December 28.

A police release on Friday described him as the "mastermind" of the racket.

Interrogation of Romil Ramgarhia, a former chief operating officer of BARC who was arrested earlier, revealed that he was involved in the rigging of Television Rating Points (TRP) with's Dasgupta's connivance, police said.

Dasgupta, who was BARC CEO between June 2013 to November 2019, misused his position and was instrumental in the manipulation of TRP of certain TV channels including Republic Bharatand Republic TV, the release alleged.

Republic Media Network, which has already denied wrongdoing, said the police's allegations in the whole case were laughable. The investigation was a farce and its sole objective was to target Republic TV, it claimed.

BARC, which had complained to the police about alleged rigging, had said in emails in October and November that Republic TV was not involved, the media group said.

Dasgupta is the fifteenth person to be arrested in the case. Most of the accused in the case are now out on bail.

Mumbai police began the probe after the BARC, a rating agency, filed a complaint about rigging of TRP by some channels.

TRP, measured by recording viewership data at sample households, is crucial as it helps TV channels attract advertisers. It was alleged that some of these households were being bribed to tune into certain channels to ramp up their ratings.

(Published 25 December 2020, 15:04 IST)

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