Aemilius Cupero News:
MUMBAI: The ex-CEO of
Broadcast Audience Research Council
, Partho Dasgupta, misused his official position, connived with other accused, including Republic TV’s
, and thus manipulated TRP ratings, bringing
to the number 1 position, a supplementary chargesheet submitted by Mumbai police in the TRP scam said.
The chargesheet, which runs into 3,600 pages, has shown Republic TV’s COO Priya Mukherjee, its chief financial officer Shiva Sundaram and employees Shivendu Mulherkar and Ranjit Walter, among others, as wanted accused. Apart from this, Amit Dave, Sanjeev Verma and other officials of Mahamovies channel are also shown as wanted accused.
The city crime branch probing the TRP manipulation scam on Monday submitted the supplementary chargesheet in the case against Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani, former BARC COO Romil Ramgarhia and Partho Dasgupta.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) measures viewership of
, which is critical for broadcasters as the ratings have a direct bearing on the business they get from advertisers. Partho Dasgupta appears to be the kingpin of the manipulation racket, assistant police inspector Sachin Waze, who is the investigating officer, said. The chargesheet stated that Dasgupta was CEO of BARC between June 2013 and November 2019 and manipulated TRPs of other channels too.
Khanchandani is accused of using illegal means to manipulate and bring TRPs of Republic TV to the top, the chargesheet said.
He is in the WhatsApp group in which there are “conspiracy messages with Priya Mukherjee and other accused (Multi System Operators) on use of dual promotional LCN to promote their channel on monetary consideration,” the chargesheet said.
The chargesheet further stated that Ramgarhia was BARC COO from July 2014 to July 2020, and during his tenure, he misused his position and used illegal means to manipulate TRPs and helped Republic TV. There is a system in place to measure TRPs, and Ramgarhia connived with other accused and manipulated ratings, the chargesheet stated. Dasgupta bought expensive items, gold and silver jewellery from the ill-gotten money he got from the manipulation scam, the chargesheet said. Dasgupta has moved the sessions court seeking bail. His plea will be heard on Friday when the prosecution is likely to submit its reply. The court refused an oral request made by his defence for interim bail.
Earlier in November, police had filed a 1,400-page chargesheet. There are 59 witnesses and 12 reports from experts including forensic audits and other technical reports, Waze said.
The crime branch is probing the role of Republic TV, Fakt Marathi,
, News Nation, Mahamovies and Wow music channel for inflating viewership figures. The channels are accused of paying money to households (where barometers were installed) for keeping the channels on.