TRP scam: Cops get more time to reply to plaint filed in MSHRC

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Mumbai, Dec 16 (PTI) Police on Wednesday said the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has granted more time to them to reply to a complaint that termed as 'illegal' the arrest of Republic Media Network's Chief Executive Officer Vikas Khanchandani in the alleged TRP rigging scam.

The police on Wednesday sought more time to respond to the complaint filed by Aditya Mishra before the MSHRC.

In the complaint filed on Sunday, Mishra alleged that the city police were 'targeting' the employees of Republic TV with 'vendetta' in mind.

Based on his complaint, the commission had directed DCP crime branch, who is probing the alleged fake TRP case, to appear before it.

A senior official confirmed that the police sought more time from the MSHRC to reply in the matter, which has been granted by it.

The complainant said that the commission kept the matter for hearing on January 4.

The complaint said, 'Vikas Khanchandani had already cooperated with the police in its investigation in the case.

Even (Republic TV's distribution head) Ghanshyam Singh had appeared before the police on several occasions for recording his statement before his arrest.' It alleged that the city police were arresting employees of Republic TV without any proper evidence and in violation of their human rights.

Khanchandani was arrested on Sunday. However, a metropolitan court on Wednesday granted him bail on a cash surety of Rs 50,000.

The police began probe into the alleged scam after ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Agency about rigging of TRP by some channels.

TRP, measured by recording viewership data at sample households, is crucial for attracting advertisers.

The BARC engaged Hansa to install and maintain barometers which record TV viewership data at sample households.

It was alleged that some of these families were being bribed to tune into certain channels to ramp up their TRP.

In a charge sheet filed recently, the police alleged that an official of Hansa paid money to sample households to tune into Box Cinema, Fakt Marathi, Maha Movie and Republic TV.

The Republic TV has denied any wrongdoing.

Police have arrested 13 people until now in connection with the case. PTI AVI DC NP NP