Mumbai Police and its city crime branch has made the 15th arrest in the fake TRP scandal that had broken out earlier this year. Days after they arrested BARC COO Romil Ramgarhia, they have arrested Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC)’s former CEO Partho Dasgupta.
According to the police, Dasgupta has been arrested on Thursday from Pune Rural which is under the jurisdiction of Raigad police station. He is currently being taken to Mumbai and will be produced before the court on Friday.
Reportedly, the police is all set to hold another press conference on Friday, explaining the developments in the TRP case, the investigation of which has been surrounded in controversy.
The arrest of BARC’s former COO in fake TRP case
On 18th of December, the special investigation team (SIT) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch had arrested former BARC Chief Operating Officer Romil Ramgarhia. A team headed by controversial Police officer Sachin Vaze reached Ramgarhia’s residence at Dosti Acres in Wadala. The SIT had initially brought Ramgarhia for questioning, however, he was taken into custody on Thursday noon by Vaze’s team.
The prosecutors claimed that Romil Ramgarhia’s custody is necessary as it is essential for them to retrieve data from his laptop in connection with the ongoing investigation into the ‘Fake TRP’ scam.
The SIT also claimed before the court that Ramgarhia allegedly leaked confidential information aiding the accused in the case to fix TRPs for some channels. The SIT said that Romil Ramgarhia leaked this information during his tenure with BARC. Ramgarhia was rating agency BARC’s first COO and he remained in that position till his resignation in July 2020.
“While working with BARC, he guided and assisted some TV channels in manipulating TRPs. He was aware of the location of barometers across the country and we suspect that he shared this information too with some channels,” the officer added. The Police also stated that Ramgarhia’s mobile phone has been seized and will be sent to the forensic science laboratory for cyber analysis.
Fake TRP scam
In October, Mumbai Police had made some sensational claims against some TV channels saying that they were manipulating TRP ratings. In a press conference, 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 specifically mentioned that Hansa Research had filed a complaint with the police. Hansa Group is an organisation that regulated the devices to record TRP for BARC. Interestingly, in this FIR that was filed by Hansa Research, Republic TV was not mentioned even once. The channel that was mentioned several times was India Today.
During the investigation, several evidence and witnesses came forward that alleged Mumbai Police have been intimidating them to speak against Republic TV, including Hansa officials. Hansa has also complained that they are being harassed by the Mumbai Police to give statements against Republic TV.