Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani has been arrested by the Mumbai Police in the fake rating scam, making him the 13th person to be arrested in this case so far.
The arrest of the top executive has come at a time when the Supreme Court almost a week earlier had turned down a plea from AGR Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which owns Republic Media network, in which they were seeking protection for the group and its employees.
Justice DY Chandrachud had told the AGR group which accused the Maharashtra Police of ‘hounding’ the media house, Editor in-chief Arnab Goswami and its employee that the petition was ‘ambitious’ in nature.
He said, “This petition is ambitious in nature. You want Maharashtra Police not to arrest any employee and transfer the cases to CBI. You better withdraw this.”
Republic TV’s Head of Distribution Ghanshyam Singh was named in a charge sheet and two accused indicated that they will become approvers in the case. The court will take a call on this matter.
The TRP rating scam was filed in October by an official of Hansa Research, an agency that placed the rating meters and filed a complaint alleging that the process was manipulated.
The Mumbai Police has named Republic TV and two Marathi channels and has alleged that they had paid to illegally boost their TRP and earned profits illegally by getting higher rates for advertisements they earned due to high TRPs.
The Mumbai Police in its investigation has said that the Republic TV which had claimed to have the highest ratings was tweaking it by allegedly bribing the households where the monitoring machines were set.
The Police said that the households were paid to keep certain channels on and they were paid Rs 400 to Rs 500 a month.
The chargesheet in the fake TRP scam has named 140 witnesses including forensic auditors and members of Broadcast Audience Research Council(BARC).
Republic TV has said that the accusations were a matter of vendetta by the Mumbai Police due to channel’s reportage and its clash with police over Sushant Singh Rajput case