It was India Today, the news channel, which had been named in an FIR along with two Marathi channels alleging TRP scam, contrary to what Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh accused news channel, Republic TV of rigging television rating points (TRPs) to attract advertisers by paying viewers to keep their channels on for long periods.
How can a highly designated official like Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh hold a press conference to claim blatantly that certain channels like Republic TV were paying certain households to keep its channel on to show higher TRP? Does Mr. Singh need to change his reading glasses? Or he is blinded by hatred and revenge against Arnab Goswami for questioning him in the ‘Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case’ and ‘Sadhu lynching case in Palghar?’
‘Hansa’ is a research company, which installs and maintains the barometers in the city on behalf of BARC. The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which operates under the Ministry of I&B and TRAI, releases weekly rating points for TV channels through 30,000 barometers randomly installed in households across the country. Of those 2000 barometers are installed in Mumbai. Location of those 30,000 households are kept confidential.
Nitin Deokar, the Deputy General Manager of the Hansa Research Group Private Limited, filed FIR against its ex employee for compromising the data by allowing certain TV channels access to them. Mumbai Police has arrested Hansa Research Group’s ex relationship manager, Vishal Bhandari, who revealed that some channels including India Today had offered him money and instigated him as well to panel homes the installation area of Bar-O-Meter. Vishal Bhandari confessed before Vigilance team of BARC, Rs. 5,000 were paid to him by Vinay, who is not identified yet, to pay five-panel homes. Nitin Deokar further revealed that in November 2019, Vishal Bhandari was asked to make 5 homes to watch the channel. Vishal Bhandari continued to do this for seven months, approaching the same five panel homes.
The complaint against India Today was made on October 6. The FIR copy in the TRP case mentions India Today is channel to be investigated. India Today has been mentioned multiple times in the FIR, while Republic TV was not even mentioned once. What is shocking is that Commissioner, Param Bir Singh appeared on India Today and gave exclusive bites about TRP scams, when he was supposed to investigate it. Instead, he held a press conference accusing Republic TV of rigging TRP. He went on to threaten directors, promoters or employees of Republic TV, whosoever is involved would be investigated.
The two words ‘India Today’ and ‘Republic TV’ do not even appear similar. Was Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh so impatient and eager to hold Press Conference that he read India Today as Republic TV? Is this how Sushant Singh Death case was handled by Mumbai Police?
Param Bir Singh was equally quick and impatient when he announced Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s family did not complain about any lapse in the investigation being carried by Mumbai Police into his death on 14 June. It goes without saying Sushant’s father filed an FIR with Patna Police.
Param Bir Singh addressed a press conference to claim that Sushant Singh Rajput was suffering from a bipolar disorder and undergoing treatment for it. Sushant searched for words like ‘painless death’, ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘bipolar disorder’ before his death. Contrary to his claim, Times Now reported actor had searched for properties, farms in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Coorg before his death.
Unfortunately, Param Bir Singh didn’t display any eagerness to prosecute those who brutally mob lynched two Sadhus and their driver in Palghar on 16 April 2020. The local Palghar court granted default bail to 28 accused after no charge sheet was filed against them in the specified 90 days.
Arnab Goswami, editor in chief, Republic TV had been grilled by Mumbai Police even for raising voices against brutal killings of Sadhus in Palghar. Then, 200 FIRs had been filed against Arnab Goswami for questioning the failure of Police in Sadhu lynching in Palghar.
Has Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh come to ground to threaten Republic TV because 200 FIRs couldn’t trouble Arnab Goswami? Is it Mumbai Police Commissioner V/S Arnab Goswami? Is it mere police investigation in TRP scam or a political vendetta against Republic Media House?