The Mumbai Police crime branch on Monday confirmed that they had arrested one Vinay Tripathi from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh. Tripathi is a former Hansa Research employee and allegedly played a key role in the ‘TRP Scam’. As per the police, he was the one who paid Vishal Bhandari to manipulate BARC ratings. Bhandari was arrested on 11th October.
TRP ‘scam’: ‘Key accused’ arrested from Uttar Pradesh— Naveen Kapoor ANI (@IamNaveenKapoor) October 13, 2020
The Mumbai police has also roped in the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to study these account details and also look into any possible incidents of money laundering.
As per the reports, the police recorded statements of two senior Hansa officials in the case. A crime branch team had gone to Uttar Pradesh to look for Tripathi. He had worked for Hansa for four years as a relationship manager.
Indian Express quoted an unnamed officer of the crime branch who said when Tripathi came to know Bhandari was arrested, he fled from Mumbai. In its report, the crime branch said Tripathi had asked Bhandari to contact at least five houses to watch a particular news channel for at least two hours daily. Bhandari got Rs.200 per household as commission for watching a particular channel. Bhandari got Rs.5,000 for the task.
The police have seized accounts of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinemas. Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has been roped in to investigate the transactions in these accounts. EOW will look for any possibilities of money laundering from these accounts.
On 8th October, the Mumbai Police commissioner said in a statement that they had unearthed a TRP scam where news channels paid money to households where BARC-o-Meter was installed. CP Param Bir Singh named Republic TV as one of the three channels involved in the scam, but within hours, the initial FIR in which India Today was named and Republic TV had no mention, got accessed by Media.
What looked like propaganda against Republic TV for taking a tough stand against the Maharashtra government and Mumbai Police, the case has become one of the most-talked-about topics in the last few days. Later, Hansa Research Group’s report was accessed by OpIndia, where Republic TV was not mentioned at any point. The Mumbai Police have also summoned Republic TV officials and questioned them over the alleged scam. However, India Today, which was named by the witnesses and has also been named in the FIR, has not been summoned by the Mumbai Police.