Suspect Paid Rs 15L/Month to Boost Republic's TRP: Crime Branch

The crime branch is currently probing the TRP scam.

2 min read
The Mumbai Police crime branch is probing the TRP scam.

The Mumbai Crime Branch, which is probing the TRP scam, told a magistrate's court on Monday (2 November) that one of the suspects admitted to paying Rs 15 lakh every month through another accused to select households in order to boost Republic TV's viewership numbers, as per a report by The Times of India. The suspect, Ashish Choudhary, is a cable distributor from Mumbai's Thane and owns Crystal Broadcast.

The report states that Choudhary has claimed he received money from hawala operators and is willing to turn approver.

The police have submitted an application to the court while seeking Choudhary's remand along with Abhishek Kolawade, who runs a marketing firm. Choudhary was arrested on 28 October. The TOI report adds that Kolawade has allegedly admitted to distributing the money received among other suspects - Ramji Verma, Dinesh Vishwakarma and Umesh Mishra - who in turn would pay households, wherein bar-o metres were installed, to keep Republic TV running on their TV sets for the maximum time.

The application also reportedly states that it has been found during investigations that Kolawade accepted money from Wow music channel and Republic Bharat Hindi news channel between 2017 to July this year.

A police official told TOI that during a search conducted at Kolawade's residence on Sunday, Rs 11.7 lakh was recovered. Police have also said that Choudhary's interrogation led to the finding of Rs 2 lakh from his office in Thane. A laptop and pen drives were also recovered from the premises of the two accused. The court has remanded Choudhary to judicial custody and extended Kolawade's police custody to 5 November.

The crime branch is investigating the roles of Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, News Nation, Maha Movies and Wow for inflating viewership numbers.

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