TRP scam: Times Now deliberately dislodged from number 1 rating, claims Mumbai Police
Mumbai Police today made more sensational claims in the fake Television Rating Points scam case, alleging that television news channel Times Now was deliberately dislodged from the top of the rankings to favour Republic TV.
At a media briefing, Mumbai Police Joint CP Crime Milind Bharambe said that as per a July 2020 report received from rating agency BARC says the data manipulation had been going on from 2016 till 2019.
"Data of up to 44 weeks was analysed in detail in the genre of English and Telugu news. Manipulation found to a great extent. Data mentions how viewership and TRP data was manipulated; how Times Now was shown on number 2 position and Republic TV was placed on number 1," Bharambe said.
The police officer also cited the BARC report to make more claims. These include:
* Report allegedly states that this manipulation continued till 2019. In some cases, ratings for some weeks seemed pre-decided.
* Report allegedly shows cartelisation of some of the top ex-officials of BARC.
* Investigations have revealed that three methodologies used by BARC -- Outlier method, Meta rule and Channel audience control -- were manipulated to gain TRPs.
The Mumbai Police claimed that emails and chats between top officials were allegedly incriminating and indicative of manipulation.
Bharambe cited one of the email exchanges pointed that the impressions of Times Now were reduced universally while that of Republic TV were kept unchanged.
The Mumbai Police said the BARC report of July 2020 vindicated its investigation which began on October 6.
Ex-BARC remanded to police custody
Former CEO Partho Dasgupta, who was the fifteenth person to be arrested in the case related to the alleged rigging of TRP, has been sent to police custody will December 28.
The Mumbai Police believes that Partho could be the mastermind of this entire operation.
He was arrested by Crime Intelligence Unit and produced before the Esplanade magistrate court on Friday.
Republic TV refutes police claims
Republic media network has denied the claims made by the Mumbai Police.
The channel, in a release, said that its ratings soared in 2020 after the new BARC dispensation took over. Considering that the viewership peaked in the second half of 2020, the channel sought to know if the Mumbai Police will investigate the current BARC leadership whom they had thanked in the press conference.
Republic TV claimed that since the last 3 months, the Mumbai Police has done everything possible to target the Network to please its "political masters".
The channel also claimed that the present BARC management had clarified to the Prasar Bharati CEO -- the government representative on the BARC board -- that no manipulation was ever carried out by Republic TV since its inception.