TRP scam: BARC suspends publication of TV ratings to 'work closely with industry'

Updated: 16 October, 2020 07:27 IST | Faizan Khan, Vishal Singh | Mumbai

Issues statement saying its technical committee will review its current standards of measuring and reporting data of niche genres, etc; this will take around 12 weeks

The SIT of the Mumbai Crime Branch recorded the statement of Republic TV's senior executive editor Abhishek Kapoor on Thursday. PIC/Suresh Karkera
The SIT of the Mumbai Crime Branch recorded the statement of Republic TV's senior executive editor Abhishek Kapoor on Thursday. PIC/Suresh Karkera

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has paused publishing TV ratings for the next 8-12 weeks following the TRP case. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Mumbai Crime Branch investigating the TRP scam recorded the statement of Republic TV's senior executive editor Abhishek Kapoor on Thursday.

In a press statement, BARC said, "In the light of the recent developments, BARC Board has proposed that its Technical Committee (Tech Comm) review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes."

"BARC will cease publishing the weekly individual ratings for all news channels during the exercise. This exercise is expected to take around 8-12 weeks including validation and testing under the supervision of BARCs Tech Comm," the statement added further.

Explaining the need for this move, Punit Goenka, chairman of BARC India Board said, "Given the most recent developments, the BARC Board was of the opinion that a pause was necessitated to enable the industry and BARC to work closely to review its already stringent protocols and further augment them to enable the industry to focus on collaborating for growth and well-natured competitiveness".

Accused 'destroyed' evidence

Accused Vinay Tripathi who was brought from Uttar Pradesh's Mirzapur has been sent to police custody till October 19. According to the Crime Branch, Tripathi has confessed that he used to give money to another accused, Vishal Bhandari, who then gave it to the households having barometers to watch specific TV channels. The SIT also found that he has destroyed some evidence. His phone was also not found. "It has been learnt in our investigation that he has given his phone to someone else to destroy it. The phone has all details of money paid by him to Vishal and others. It also has the details of money received by him from accused channels," said a member of the SIT.

One of the accused, Vinay Tripathi
One of the accused, Vinay Tripathi

The Crime Branch has also deployed teams in seven other states in search of suspects. While the statement of Republic's senior executive editor was recorded, three senior members of Hansa Research Group also appeared before the investigating officer.

More witnesses against Republic

The SIT members going to every household where barometers are installed, claims to have found five more witnesses against Republic TV, who have told it that they were being paid to watch the channel.

The SIT has also sought an details of cases registered against Arnab Goswami across Maharashtra.

SC tells Arnab to approach Bombay HC

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain Republic TV's petition against summons issued to its executives by the Mumbai police in connection with the TRP scam, and asked it to move the Bombay High Court.

"Like any other citizen who faces the predicament of an investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the petitioner will have to take recourse to the remedies which are available under the appropriate provisions of law. Hence, the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution is not entertained," said a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud.

"One must have faith in the Bombay High Court," said the bench pointing out that Republic TV has an office at Worli.

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First Published: 16 October, 2020 07:03 IST

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