The Mumbai Police on Monday, 28 December, informed a local court that Partho Dasgupta, the former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) who is arrested, along with another ex-senior BARC official and Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami had manipulated the television rating points (TRP) of Republic TV and its Hindi arm, PTI reported.
The Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch also sought custody of Dasgupta, alleging that he was the “mastermind” of the TRP scam.
In the police’s remand note submitted before a magistrate's court, the authorities claimed that all three accused had manipulated TRPs for profits, and that Goswami had provided “payment in lakhs” to Dasgupta.
PTI quoted the note, which read “Dasgupta misused his official position and manipulated TRPs of specific news channels broadcast by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd such as Republic Bharat Hindi and Republic TV English.”
On the basis of the note, the local court extended Dasgupta’s police custody, which was earlier only till 30 December 2020, PTI reported.
Police has also claimed that Partho Dasgupta was handling the market analytics department, under which changes in television viewership were controlled through the Meta rule methodology to rig TRP's.
Thus, in a bid to understand the modus operandi behind it, they sought an extension of Dasgupta’s custody.
The analysis of random sampling also shows that Republic channels had purportedly shown the highest in TRPs for 40 weeks by tweaking the data of Times Now channel which actually had more TRP, said the police.
Partho Dasgupta reportedly misused his post and power to manipulated TRP's of several channels. In return, he has also received perks in cash & kind from the owners and heads of concerned channels.
Republic TV has denied all allegations against it, and Dasgupta is one of the 15 people arrested in this case.
(With inputs from PTI.)