TRP scam: Former Hansa Research employee held in Uttar Pradesh
Vinay Tripathi is suspected to have given money to previously arrested accused, Vishal Bhandari, to pay to households that had barometers fixed in their television sets
The Special Investigation Team of the Mumbai Crime Branch investigating the fake TRP scam arrested another person, Vinay Tripathi, from Uttar Pradesh's (UP) Mirzapur with the help of the UP police. Tripathi is a former employee of Hansa Research Group.
"A team of officers traced Tripathi to Mirzapur and arrested him. He will be brought to Mumbai on transit remand for further investigation," said Nandkumar Thakur, DCP, Crime Branch. According to officials, Tripathi was accused Vishal Bhandari's senior and had worked with Hansa Research Group. He used to give money to Vishal to be paid to households for watching specific news channels. "Hansa Research Group, in its internal probe in June, found that Tripathi paid Bhandari to fix a few households with barometers to watch India Today," an officer said.
However, the Crime Branch in their probe did not find any evidence against the India Today Group. "As far as India Today is concerned, Tripathi's arrest is very crucial. We will get to know if the money was meant for other channels apart from India Today. This will also verify if Hansa Research Group's report is genuine and not manipulated to target a particular channel due to various reasons," said an officer.
The SIT also recorded the supplementary statement of complainant Nitin Deokar, the deputy manager of Hansa Research Group and the statement of Praveen Nijhar, CEO of the Group.
Ghanshyam Singh, Republic TV's distribution head, Vikas Khanchandani, its CEO and Harsh Bhandari, the COO were questioned for the second consecutive day and have submitted the required documents asked for by the investigating officers. According to sources, the officials of Republic TV told the Crime Branch that advertisements are their only source of income.
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police also stepped in to look into a possible money laundering angle. The EOW officers are also included in the SIT which is probing the case.
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