Mumbai: This afternoon the Mumbai Police Commissioner, Shri Param Bir Singh in a Press Conference on the BARC meter tampering case, named three channels including Fakt Marathi and Republic for manipulating TRP’s and paying people to watch Republic TV.
Statement from Praveen Nijhara – CEO, Hansa Research reveals that one of its ex-employee engaged in wrongdoing and the company has launched a police complaint against him after due consultation with BARC India.
The statement issued by Hansa Research said, “This is with reference to the media reports regarding TRP ratings being manipulated. Hansa Research and BARC conducted an investigation into the matter over the last few weeks, the conclusion of which resulted in Hansa Research filing an FIR against an ex-employee who was engaged in some wrongdoing.
Hansa Research has always been vigilant about these issues and has been proactive in informing BARC and the law enforcement agencies as and when such cases have come to our notice. We would continue to cooperate with BARC and with the authorities as and when called upon to do so.”
On this BARC issued a statement, saying, “As in all our previous cases of suspected panel homes intrusions, BARC India continues to follow its established vigilance and disciplinary guidelines. BARC remains steadfastly true to its purpose to accurately and faithfully report ‘What India Watches’. BARC India appreciates the efforts of the Mumbai Police and will provide the support asked of it,” says a BARC India Spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Republic TV accessed the FIR filed by the Mumbai Police on the complaint of Nitin Deokar, the Deputy General Manager of the Hansa Research Group Private Limited, the company responsible for installing and maintaining the Bar-O-Meter of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). It further revealed that the Mumbai Police arrested Vishal Bhandari- the Relationship Manager of the Hansa Research Group Private Limited. He has revealed the names of few channels instigated him and offered money to panel homes, where Bar-O-Meter is installed.
As per the complainant, some persons try to increase the ratings by making panel homes watch certain channels against payment of money. He added that a manipulative TRP rating causes several advertisers to part with huge sum of money to undeserving channels.
Moreover, Deokar revealed that a person named Vinay asked Bhandari in November 2019 to approach 5 homes and ask them to watch India Today daily for two hours. As per Bhandari’s own confession to the BARC Vigilance team, Vinay paid him Rs.5000 as commission for distributing Rs.1000 among 5 panel homes. An audit inquiry by BARC confirmed that 5 households were indeed bribed to watch India Today daily for minimum two hours from November 2019 to May 2020.
Republic TV has vehemently opposed the claims made by Mumbai police commissioner and clarified that the FIR infact was having the name of another English News Channel and not Republic TV.