TRP scam: Mumbai Police arrests Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani
The Mumbai Police on Sunday arrested Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani in connection with a scam about the manipulation of TRPs (Television Rating Points). Khanchandani is the 13th person to be arrested in the case that had come to light in October when the ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) had alleged that certain television channels were fudging their TV ratings.
Channel moves Holiday court against CEO's arrest
Republic TV moved the Holiday court alleging that the CEO was arrested from his home Sunday morning without any papers, despite complete compliance with the investigation. Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami asked, "If the matter comes under TRAI [Telecom Regulatory Authority of India], why is the Mumbai Police arresting our CEO Vikas Khanchandani?" The channel's lawyer MR Ventakesh has sought the Supreme Court's intervention.
Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema allegedly fudged ratings
Earlier in October, BARC had alleged that TV ratings were being fudged by Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, and Box Cinema. Viewers have testified that they were paid to keep the channels on, even when they were not watching. A complaint had been filed by Hansa Research, a company appointed by BARC, which installs "people meters" to track viewership.
Recently, Republic TV had moved Bombay HC
On December 8, ARG Outlier Media, which owns Republic TV, had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking a stay on further investigation in the case. The petition had accused the Mumbai Police of torturing a Republic TV employee in custody. It had sought protection for all of the firm's employees from the "malicious witch hunt" by the Mumbai Police.
SC had earlier refused to entertain channel's plea
On December 7, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a plea by ARG Outlier Media which had also sought protection for all its employees from Mumbai Police's alleged coercive action. The apex court had observed that the petition was ambitious in nature.