In a big development in the fake TRP case, the Enforcement Directorate has summoned top BARC officials, part of BARC CEO Sunil Lulla’s team. The summons is in regard to inconsistencies in BARC versions on the TRP Scam.
The officials are facing interrogation right now. Dr Derrick Gray, who is the Chief of Measurement Science and part of the top management team at BARC, is being quizzed in Mumbai. Separately, ED officials are even at the BARC office at the moment questioning top officers about the TRP case.
The Enforcement Directorate had last month filed an enforcement case information report (ECIR) that is equivalent to a police FIR under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the alleged TRP rigging scam that is being investigated by the Mumbai police. The ED complaint was filed after studying a Mumbai police FIR that was registered in October and it had named the Republic TV channel, two Marathi channels and few other individuals.
The ED is probing if fake TRPs were generated and if the money earned through this was used to generate illegal funds and create illegitimate assets.
Interestingly, while Republic TV has been in the fray and is being widely investigated for the fake TRP scam, the original Hansa Research Report and the subsequent FIR based on the report named India Today. Republic TV’s name was not mentioned by Hansa or BARC in the TRP scam.
OpIndia had, recently, received incriminating details which raised eyebrows on BARC’s veracity in presenting an accurate picture of TRP of channels. We reported how 2016 internal BARC emails clearly hinted that BARC might not be working to present an accurate picture of TRP in the first place and is deeply open to data being rigged and results being flawed.
The TRP scam seems to be far deeper than anyone had fathomed. While news channels are being spoken about widely by investigative agencies, genres that get extremely high revenue for their advertising slots are often those in the entertainment and sports category. BARC’s internal emails which recently came to the fore, shows how BARC might not be particularly forthcoming in the information they are providing to investigative agencies to ensure that their internal management stays away from the investigation. Therefore, it is important that for the truth to emerge, officials of all channels involved need to be questioned, especially, those from BARC.