The Mumbai Police arrested the distribution head of Republic TV, Ghanshyam Singh, on Tuesday, 10 November, in the TRP fraud case. Ghanshyam Singh had earlier been questioned by the crime branch in connection with the case along with the CEO and COO of Republic TV.
This is the twelfth arrest in the case. So far, five channels have been accused of manipulating TRPs for better rating, these include – Republic TV, Maha Movie, News Nation, Box Cinema, and Fakt Marathi.
Expressing shock over Ghanshyam Singh’s arrest, Republic TV in a statement wrote that, “Mr. Ghanshyam Singh who heads Republic Media Network’s Western Region Distribution has continuously cooperated with the Mumbai Police in the case. In fact, in the spirit of cooperation even in a fake and hollow case, he continually appeared before the Mumbai Police on numerous occasions.”
The statement further added:
"“He has cooperated throughout and answered all questions of the police to the best of his knowledge and ability. Ghanshyam has personally been through over 40 hours of semi-custodial interrogation, and his current detention crafts a new low in the highhanded tactics of the law and order machinery in the state of Maharashtra which is functioning unchecked.”"
The channel further claimed that Singh has been booked under “frivolous sections in a fake TRP manipulation case, which itself doesn’t stand vis-a-vis the evidence.” Thus, terming his arrest ‘illegal’.
The Mumbai crime branch had reportedly told a Magistrate’s court earlier in November that a cable distributor from Thane had admitted to paying Rs 15 lakh every month through an associate to select households to boost Republic’s ratings.
The police have also been probing payments made by Republic TV to Hansa Group, a company that was contracted to install bar-o-meters in households to measure viewership.
The BARC affiliated Hansa Research Group has, meanwhile, filed a petition in the Bombay High Court asking for the investigation of the scam to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Singh’s arrest comes just days after Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was arrested by the Maharashtra police over abetment to suicide charges in connection with Anvay and Kumud Naik’s deaths.
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