Mumbai: Mumbai police claimed Friday that the former CEO of the Broadcast Research Audience Council (BARC), Parth Dasgupta played the main role in the manipulation of TRP of certain TV channels including ‘Republic TV’. Republic Media Network, which owns ‘Republic TV’, in a statement earlier in the day, said the police’s allegations were laughable. The sole objective of the probe was to target ‘Republic TV’, it said.
Citing a forensic audit report, a senior police official said that manipulation was going on at least between 2016 and 2019 when Dasgupta was the BARC CEO. The Crime Branch of Mumbai Police Thursday nabbed 55-year-old Dasgupta in Pune he was heading for Goa. He was produced Friday before a Mumbai court which sent him in police custody till December 28. A police release on Friday described him as ‘mastermind’ of the racket.
Interrogation of Romil Ramgarhia, a former chief operating officer of BARC who was arrested earlier, revealed that he was involved in rigging of Television Rating Points (TRP) with Dasgupta’s connivance, police said.
Dasgupta, who was BARC CEO from June 2013 to November 2019, misused his position and was instrumental in manipulation of TRP of certain TV channels including ‘Republic Bharat’ and ‘Republic TV’, the release alleged.
BARC, which had complained to the police about alleged rigging, had said in emails in October and November that ‘Republic TV’ was not involved, the media group said.
Dasgupta is the 15th person to be arrested in the case. Most of the accused in the case are now out on bail.
While Dasgupta was CEO of the BARC, there were many complaints about dubious viewership data, but these complaints were suppressed, the police officer claimed. After Dasgupta left the organisation, the BARC commissioned a third-party forensic audit, and its report came out in July 2020, he said.
Mumbai police began the probe after BARC filed a complaint about rigging of TRP by some channels.