Mumbai: In a massive development, the Mumbai Police on Thursday clarified that their investigation into television rating points or TRP manipulation by three television channels was based on a complaint by a private firm, reported NDTV.

“The complaint was lodged by independent agency Hansa, not us,” said Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh. “Suspicious trends were noticed by them, not us. They noticed suspicious trends of ratings or certain channels. They shared details of discrepancies.”

Mumbai Police on earlier on Thursday said it had busted a “racket” of “fradulent” manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRPs) involving three channels including Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV.

“So far three channels including Republic, Fakt Marathi, and Box Cinema have been found to be indulging in such malpractices,” Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said at a press conference.

Four persons – the owners of the Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema channels, and two former employees of the market research agency that collects the TRP data – have been arrested. They will be produced before a court on Friday.

Also read: New twist in TRP scam, no mention of Republic TV in FIR

Singh’s remarks came after Republic TV strongly denied the charges. In a statement, the channel’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami said he would file a criminal defamation suit against the Mumbai Police and accused Singh of making false allegations because he had questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation. “He should issue a public apology or get ready to face us in court,” Goswami said.

However, Singh, denied any vendetta against Republic TV, which has been critical of the Mumbai Police in connection with the Sushant Singh Rajput death investigation. “I have no grand design to clean up the system,” Singh said. “A complaint was received by us and we will do a professional job, collect evidence. We don’t proceed against anyone with vendetta.”

He pointed out that over a lakh fake accounts were created to malign the image of the police. “Our investigations in the Sushant Singh Rajput case were professional and the Supreme Court also endorsed it,” he added. “Our investigation into the TRP case will also be professional.”

TRPs are a tool provided to judge which programmes are viewed the most. It gives an index of the choice of the people and also the popularity of a particular channel. The private firm that filed the complaint, Hansa, assesses viewership.