TRP scam: Ex-COO of rating agency BARC arrested

TRP scam: Romil Ramgarhia, ex-COO of rating agency BARC arrested

The BARC engaged Hansa to install and maintain barometers which record TV viewership data at sample households

Former COO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Romil Ramgarhia produced at Esplanade court in connection with TRP rigging scam, in Mumbai. Credit: PTI Photo.

Mumbai Police on Thursday arrested former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in connection with the alleged TRP (Television Rating Points) rigging scam, an official said.

Romil Ramgarhia, former COO of the BARC, was arrested in the afternoon by a team of Mumbai crime branch, which is probing the TRP case, he said.

This is the 14th arrest in the case.

"During the probe, Ramgarhia's alleged involvement in the case came to light, following which he was placed under arrest today," the police official said.

Following the arrest, Ramgarhia was produced before a metropolitan magistrate court here, which remanded him in police custody till December 19.

Police sought his custody saying they needed to interrogate him in connection with the case. They also said that his custody was required in order to retrieve electronic evidence from him.

On Sunday, the police had arrested Republic Media Network's Chief Executive Officer Vikas Khanchandani in connection with the scam. However, he was granted bail by a court on Wednesday.

The police began a probe into the alleged scam after ratings agency BARC filed a complaint through Hansa Research Agency about rigging of TRP by some channels.

TRP, measured by recording viewership data at sample households, is crucial for attracting advertisers.

The BARC engaged Hansa to install and maintain barometers which record TV viewership data at sample households.

It was alleged that some of these families were being bribed to tune into certain channels to ramp up their TRP.

In a charge sheet filed recently, the police alleged that an official of Hansa paid money to sample households to tune into Box Cinema, Fakt Marathi, Maha Movie and Republic TV.

The Republic TV has denied any wrongdoing.