Hansa Research Group Private Limited, The company that manages the Bar-O-meters of BARC, has confirmed that they had filed a complaint with the Mumbai police alleging malpractices oh TV viewership records. The company released its first statement after the issue snowballed into a major controversy when the Mumbai police commissioner said that Republic TV was named in the FIR, while actually, the FIR had named India Today severe times and Republic TV was not named at all.
As reported by Republic TC, the statement issued by Praveen Nijhara, CEO, Hansa Research Group said that as a result of an investigation conducted by the Hansa Research and the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) into the matter of TRP manipulation, an FIR was filed by the former against an ex-employee of theirs who was engaged in some kind of wrongdoing. The statement further said that Hansa Research has been vigilant in informing BARC and other law enforcement agencies about such issues and that they would continue to cooperate with BARC and other authorities.
The statement reads, “This is with reference to the media reports regarding TRP ratings manipulated. Hansa Research and BARC conducted an investigation into the matter over the last few weeks, the conclusion of which resulted in Hansa Research filing an FIR against an ex-employee who was engaged in some wrongdoing. Hansa Research has always been vigilant about these issues and has been proactive in informing BARC and the law enforcement agencies as and when called upon to do so”.
The company installs and maintains the Bar-O-Meter of BARC. The Bar-O-Meter or the BARC meter measures viewership of channels through digital set-top boxes by tracking audio tracks embedded in al the channels. As revealed by Hansa Research’s Relationship Manager, Vishal Bhandari, who has been arrested by the Mumbai police, India Today and other channels had instigated him and had also offered money to panel homes where Bar-O-Meter is installed.
Nitin Deokar, the Deputy Manager of Hansa Research who had filed an FIR against Bhandari explained that some people try to increase the ratings by making panel homes watch certain channels in exchange for money. Deokar said that Bhandari was approached by a person named Vinay in November 2019, who had asked Bhandari to approach five homes and ask them to watch India Today for two hours every day.
Bhandari had confessed to the BARC Vigilance team that Vinay paid him Rs 5000 as commission got distributing Rs 1000 among five panel homes. His claim was confirmed by an audit inquiry conducted by BARC that five households were paid money to watch India Today everyday for a minimum period of 2 hours from November 2019 to May 2020.
Arnab Goswami’s Statement
In response to the allegations leveled by the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh against Republic TV in the fake TRP Scam, the Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV Arnab Goswami has issued a statement. In his statement, Goswami said that the Mumbai Police Commissioner stands exposed as the FIR mentions the name of India Today multiple times. Also, the main witness in the case has named India Today on record. He questioned how the Commissioner closed the investigation against India Today within 16 hours of filing the FIR and went on to hold a press conference against Republic TV. Goswami asked him to quit in the interest of morality.
Goswami’s statement can be read here:
“The Mumbai Police Commissioner has been completely and totally exposed. A copy of the FIR in the TRP case mentions India Today as the channel to be investigated. In fact, India Today has been mentioned multiple times in the FIR. There is not a single mention of Republic TV. Now, the main witness in the case has also gone on record and named India Today as the English channel for which financial compensation was allegedly provided to gain viewership. The complaint against India Today was made on October 6. Param Bir Singh closes the investigation against India Today within 16 hours and does a press conference against Republic TV. Now, that the FIR is out and the critical witness is on record, and the Mumbai Police Commissioner has been caught red-handed. He must, in the interest of morality, quit”.