The News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), the largest group of news channels in India, has written Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) seeking clarity over bribery allegations involving Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze.
According to media reports, Vaze had extorted Rs 30 lakh from BARC for not harassing its executives.
“Furthermore, according to information with us, BARC has admitted to the Enforcement Directorate that a bribe of Rs. 30 lakhs was paid, and the admission was made in late March’2021. These details indicate that there was a significant gap between the date of payment of the said bribe in late October 2020 and the date when an admission regarding the same was made to the agencies,” the letter stated.
The letter further read, “According to information with us, and the Enforcement Directorate has carried out searches at the premises of a Delhi-based company through which the money was laundered. It appears that it was after investigations commenced that BARC made the admission regarding the payment of bribes.”
The letter addressed to BARC Chairman Punit Goenka and drafted by R. Jai Krishna, Secretary-General of NBF, posed 10 questions and sought an immediate response.
- Did BARC or any officials thereof pay Rs? 30 lakhs as a bribe to Sachin Vaze and/or his associates?
- If the answer to the above is yes, when was the said bribe paid?
- What was the understanding between Sachin Vaze & BARC and/or any of its officials
- Who are the officials at BARC that are aware of this transaction?
- Did the CEO of BARC and/or any of the board members of BARC know about this bribe?
- The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is the nodal Ministry for BARC. Did BARC inform the said Ministry about the bribe sought and bribe given?
- Were you aware when you paid the bribe that Sachin Vaze was actively playing a critical role in levelling false charges in the TRP case?
- Is it true that the bribe was paid in the duration when the News Broadcasters Federation was repeatedly writing to BARC regarding false charges against our member channels?
- Did BARC disclose to any authorities that a bribe was sought before making the said payment?
- Are you aware that under sections 8 and 9 of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act) payment of a bribe that has not been reported within 7 days by the bribe payer is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years?