Mumbai Police has issued a summons to Niranjan Narayanswamy, the Executive Editor of Republic TV, in connection with the TRP scam. Originally, in the FIR related to the case, only India Today was mentioned and not Republic TV. Earlier, Chief Financial Officer of Republic TV – S Sundaram was summoned in connection with the case following which the CFO moved the Supreme Court.
The summons issued to Niranjan Narayanswamy of Republic TV on the 13th of October says, “Whereas on 10/10/2020 Republic TV Channel has telecast a document which purpotedly belongs to Hansa Research Group Pvt. Ltd., and Whereas there are reasonable grounds to believe that you are acquainted with certain facts and circumstances of the said document which purpotedly belongs to Hansa Research Group Pvt. Ltd. and the same is required to be ascertained from you, and Whereas it is necessary to record your statement in this regard, and Therefore, you are directed to provide said document which purpotedly belongs to Hansa Research Group Pvt. Ltd. for the investigation of said case.”
Niranjan Narayanswamy has been asked to present himself before the Mumbai Police on Wednesday at 12.00 pm. Previously, Mumbai police had summoned consulting editor of Republic TV and journalist Pradeep Bhandari for questioning on Friday. A complaint against Bhandari was registered at the Khar police station under Articles 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of IPC and 37(1), 135 of the Bombay Police Act, and he was asked to appear for the investigation of the said crime.
The ‘fake TRP scam’ exposed
The ‘fake TRP scam’ had taken a remarkable turn in less than 48 hours. Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh, in an explosive statement accused Republic TV of ‘TRP manipulation’. In a no-holds-barred attack against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami, the Mumbai CP had claimed, that the channel had illegally paid some households to keep some channels on even if they were not at home to boost their TRP.
However, by the end of the day, it was revealed that in the original FIR, Republic TV did not find a mention anywhere. In fact, it was India Today that had been named in the original FIR. The Joint Commissioner had also admitted that it was indeed India Today that was named in the FIR.
The 7-page Hansa research Group complaint served as the basis for the FIR registered in the TRP scam case. Contrary to the narrative put forth by the Mumbai Police, the complaint categorically mentions India Today on two occasions but does not make any reference to Republic TV or other channels.
The Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd. had filed the complaint against unknown persons and two of its employees, namely, Vishal Bhandari and Dinesh Vishwakarma. The company informed that they undertake the Panel Home Operations for a metering company MDL to collect raw data of TV viewership for BARC.