Thursday, February 25, 2021
Home News Reports Mumbai Police’s Sachin Vaze arrests BARC COO, who had resigned in July, after he...

Mumbai Police’s Sachin Vaze arrests BARC COO, who had resigned in July, after he was ‘caught’ with WhatsApp messages to Republic TV CEO

Pertinently, Hansa Research, that has now alleged that they are being forced to implicate Republic TV by Sachin Vaze and others in Mumbai Police had not named Republic TV at all, and had only named India Today in their report, based on which an FIR was filed.

The Mumbai Police on Thursday arrested former chief operating officer (COO) of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Romil Ramgarhia in connection with the alleged ‘Fake TRP’ scam, after almost 4 months of his resignation from BARC.

According to the reports, the special investigation team (SIT) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested former BARC Chief Operating Officer Romil Ramgarhia on Thursday. A team headed by controversial Police officer Sachin Vaze reached Ramgarhia’s residence at Dosti Acres in Wadala on Thursday morning. 

The SIT had initially brought Ramgarhia for questioning, however, he was taken into custody on Thursday noon by Vaze’s team.

The SIT later produced him in the metropolitan magistrate court and sought his custody for further interrogation. 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.

According to the SIT, Ramgarhia was in contact with the director of Republic Media network and its CEO Vikas Khanchandani through WhatsApp and is “suspected to have passed on information to the channel”. It is, however, unclear what “information” they suspect the BARC COO passed on to Republic TV CEO.

The arrest of former BARC COO comes just days after Mumbai Police had continued its witch-hunt against Republic Media Network and had arrested CEO Vikas Khanchandani from his home in connection with the alleged ‘Fake TRP’ scam case.

Mumbai Police claims BARC COO leaked data to channels

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. 

Advocate Mrunmay Kulkarni, representing the former BARC official, argued that custodial interrogation was not warranted as Ramgarhia had already resigned from the organisation months before the alleged scandal broke out and had nothing to do with the alleged ‘Fake TRP’ scam. The defence counsel also argued that Ramgarhia had a very specific role in rating agency BARC and was in no way involved in any illegal activities.

After hearing both sides, the court granted the SIT custody of Ramgarhia till December 19. Romil Ramgarhia is the fourteenth individual to have been arrested by the Mumbai Police in connection with the ‘Fake TRP’ scam, where channels including Fakt Marathi, India Today, Republic TV have been accused of bribing sample households to shoot up their TRPs.

It is rather interesting to note that while the COO resigned on July 31st 2020, it was on June 17th that Hansa Research Group employee Vishal Bhandari had informed to BARC Vigilance Team that he had received a call from one Vinay in November 2019. As per the complaint, Vinay had asked Bhandari to visit 5-panel homes, where bar-o-meters are installed, and convince them to watch India Today news channel for 2 hours every day. He had received ₹5000 to execute the task and was also paid ₹1000 to equally distribute among the 5-panel homes. Bhandari, who had executed the plan on the behest of Vinay, continued it unabated from November 2019 to May this year.

During the 7-month period, Bhandari would meet different people at the Malad railway station to receive his cash reward. During their internal investigation, BARC cross-verified the claims of Bhandari. Several panel homes have admitted to receiving monetary compensation in lieu of watching ‘certain channels’ and ‘influencing the viewership’.

Pertinently, Hansa Research, that has now alleged that they are being forced to implicate Republic TV by Sachin Vaze and others in Mumbai Police had not named Republic TV at all and had only named India Today in their report, based on which an FIR was filed.

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.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

I worry about Yogendra Yadav’s mental health and his The Print article on the 2021 Bengal elections proves I am not wrong

As BJP rises in Bengal, a panic attack was detailed in The Print, written by our very own Icchadhari protestor, Yogendra Yadav.

Modi govt tightens noose on social media giants and ‘intermediaries’: What it means, the effects of the provisions and how it could tame the...

The guidelines define the due diligence measures that the social media platforms will have to observe to operate in India

‘Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai is fit for Nirav Modi’: UK court approves extradition to India

"Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai is fit for Nirav Modi," said the UK judge while ordering his extradition

Govt removes safety net that allowed platforms like Twitter to not take responsibility for their misuse, officials can be penalised

If social media platforms don’t comply with the provisions of new guidelines, this will attract penal provisions under the IT Act

Central govt opposes petition to allow same-sex marriage under Hindu Marriage Act, seeks dismissal of petitions: Read details

Central government has opposed a petition to legalise same-sex marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, as moved in Delhi Court. T

Exclusive: Bajrang Dal in Kanpur starts a signature campaign against the usage of loudspeakers during Azaan

Rashtriya Bajrang Dal started the campaign on February 22 and aims to collect the signature of 1 lakh people from Kanpur.

Recently Popular

US President Joe Biden casually drops the N-word during Munich Security Conference, accused of racism on social media

The N-word is considered as one of the hateful words that were first uttered in the 17th century. Its origin can be traced back to the Spanish word 'negro', which is often used by white supremacists to deliberately offend the African-American community.

Karnataka: Journalist gets death threats from actor Dhruv Sarja’s fans for exposing anti-Brahmin hate shown in ‘Pogaru’ movie

Journalist Chiru Bhat had exposed the anti-Brahmin hatred shown in Dhruv Sarja's new Kannada movie 'Pogaru'.

‘Give my regards to your puppet master’, Elon Musk tells Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post when they asked him about his busy schedule

Washington Post had published a report claiming the busy schedule of Elon Musk is affecting his electric car company Tesla

After 450 buildings, projects being named after Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, ‘liberals’ outrage about stadium named after PM Modi

Congress workers getting triggered over Narendra Modi stadium is amusing considering there are at least 450 projects, structures, roads, colleges, universities named after the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Naushad’s video of spitting on Tandoori Roti might be just the tip of the iceberg, several similar videos emerge on social media

UP Police is investigation to see if Naushad was an alone in spitting on Rotis he was making or there is a nexus indulged in such activities

Adani Pavilion and Reliance Pavilion at Narendra Modi Stadium: All you want to know about naming stadiums and pavilions

The stadium was named after PM Modi as he was a former president of GCA, and Reliance & Adan won bids to sponsor two pavilions
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

253,137FansLike
520,199FollowersFollow
23,700SubscribersSubscribe