TRP manipulation: Mumbai police file supplementary chargesheet

It names Republic TV CEO, ex-COO and former BARC CEO and managing partner

The Mumbai police on Monday filed a supplementary chargesheet in the Television Rating Point (TRP) manipulation case against officials from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) and employees of the ARG Outlier Private Limited.

The chargesheet runs into 3,600 pages and names Republic TV chief executive officer (CEO) Vikas Khanchandani, former chief operating officer (COO) Romil Ramgarhia and former BARC CEO and managing partner Partho Dasgupta.

It states “Mr. Khanchandani illegally increased the TRP through dual promotional and helped to gain more revenue to the channel.”

Mr. Ramgarhia and Mr. Dasgupta conspired with each other to rig the data of random sampling of 40 weeks. They misused their position to deceive the advertisers and common people about TV channel viewers.

The chargesheet has statements of 59 witnesses, 12 experts including a forensic and a computer expert.

On October 8, 2020, the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had said a TRP racket has been busted which involves Republic TV, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi. He had said the channels are manipulating TRPs and are involved in distorting the system used by BARC to rate television channels. 2,000 barometers are installed in Mumbai to monitor TRPs and BARC has given confidential contracts for monitoring them.

The accused have been charged with Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468, 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), 204 (destruction of document or electronic record to prevent its production as evidence), 212 (harbouring offender) of the IPC.

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