After India Today lost its mental balance following Mumbai police accusing Republic TV of indulging in manipulating viewership data (TRP), it has been revealed that the complained filed by BARC had actually named India Today TV for the crime, not Republic TV.
The FIR alleging manipulation of Bar-o-meters installed by BARC was filed by Hansa Research Group Private Limited, the company responsible for installing and maintaining the Bar-O-Meter of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Following the complaint, Relationship Manager of the company Vishal Bhandari was arrested by Mumbai police. During the investigation, revealed that India Today and other channels instigated him and offered money to households with the meters to keep their TV tuned to those channels.
Now, audio has surfaced where the main witness, Tejal Solanki, has admitted on record while talking to Republic TV journalist that her son was asked to watch India Today in order to manipulate their TRP.
Listen to the audio:
Tejal Soni is one of the 5-panel homes on basis of which man arrested for manipulating TRPs. Interestingly, it was also revealed earlier that according to the statement given by Vishal Bhandari, the audit team had visited one of the panel homes, and the household had confirmed that they were paid to watch the India Today for minimum 2 hours per day.
While Mumbai Police names Republic TV, FIR filed in the case names India Today
Today Mumbai police made some sensational claims against some TV channels saying that they were manipulating TRP ratings. In a press conference held today, Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh had said that three TV channels, including Republic TV, were involved in manipulating viewership data of BARC by paying those households where Bar-o-meters, the devices that track TV viewership, are installed.
Param Bir Singh had said that two persons have been arrested in connection with the ‘fraud’, one of them used to work for an agency that worked with BARC. He said that they had obtained data of households with the meters installed, and sold this data to the TV channels, who then used this data to influence the TV viewership of those households.
The Police commissioner said that the arrested persons had admitted that Republic TV and two other Marathi Channels were involved in the scam, and the owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema channels have been arrested.
However, the FIR was then accessed by Republic TV and also by OpIndia that revealed that Republic TV was not mentioned in the FIR anywhere. In fact, it was India Today that was mentioned in the FIR along with some other channels that were not explicitly named.
Arnab issues a statement: You are scared of the truth coming out, he says to Mumbai Police Commissioner, Parambir Singh
After the press conference by Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh, Arnab Goswami of Republic TV issued the following statement:
“Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh has made false allegations against republic tv because we have questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation. Republic tv will file a criminal defamation case against Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh. There is not a single BARC report that mentions Republic TV. The people of India know the truth. Mr. Param Bir Singh’s investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput case is under a cloud and this is a desperate measure because of Republic TV’s reportage on Palghar, the Sushant Singh Rajput case or any other case. This kind of targeting only strengthens the resolve of everyone at Republic TV to push for the truth even harder. Param Bir Singh stands completely exposed today since BARC has not mentioned Republic in any single complaint. He should issue an official apology and get ready to face us in court.”
It is interesting to note that after the press conference by Mumbai Police Commissioner, India Today went on an overdrive trying to deride Republic TV and Arnab Goswami. They even dubbed the “scandal” as a “cash for TRP” scandal, fashioning it like the “Cash for Votes” scandal that ironically involved Rajdeep Sardesai.
India Today News Director, Rahul Kanwal, who was earlier in the day caught lying about BARC ratings where Republic TV had beaten India Today hollow, went on a long rant trying to deride Arnab Goswami and India Today as well.
Now, however, there seems to be egg on India Today’s face as the FIR specifically names India Today and in fact, the witness in the audio released also specifically names India Today and no other channel.
While ethics is unexpected from a troop led by Rajdeep Sardesai, one wonders if the India Today crew will come to its senses and withdraw their slanderous news. However, we are not holding our breath.