10 Oct 2020: TRP scam: Republic TV CFO skips Mumbai Police summons
Shiva Subramaniyam Sundaram, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Republic TV, has requested the Mumbai Police to reschedule the summons issued to him into a scam about the manipulation of TRPs (Television Rating Points).
The Mumbai Police has alleged that Republic TV, and two other channels, paid people to spike their ratings and illegally earn more advertising revenue.
Here are more details.
Details: Republic TV CFO cited personal commitments, SC plea
Citing "personal commitments," Sundaram requested the Mumbai Police to reschedule the summons.
He expressed a "commitment to cooperate," however, added that Republic TV's Supreme Court petition challenging the summons is "likely to be listed soon."
Hence, the police are "requested not to proceed with any further investigation in so far as Republic TV and its employees are concerned," a statement issued on Saturday said.
Fact: Would be available in Mumbai by October 14-15: CFO
Further, Sundaram stated that he was scheduled to travel outside Mumbai for the next few days. He said he would only be available in the city by October 14 or October 15. The CFO had been called in for questioning on Saturday.
Scam: Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema allegedly fudged ratings
The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on Thursday alleged that TV ratings were being fudged by Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, and Box Cinema.
Viewers have testified that they were paid to keep the channels on, even when they were not watching.
A complaint had been filed by Hansa Research, a company appointed by BARC, which installs "people meters" to track viewership.
Fact: Scam emerged during probe into manipulation of news trends: Police
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said that the scam had emerged during a larger analysis of manipulation of news trends. The police investigated how a "false narrative" was being propagated, particularly over the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Investigation: Police to conduct forensic audit of Republic TV's accounts
The police are planning to conduct a "forensic audit" of Republic TV's accounts. If it is established that the channel manipulated ratings, the accounts could be frozen.
According to the summons issued to Sundaram, the police believe he is "acquainted with certain facts and circumstances of the matter."
Singh said the information regarding the case has been shared with the central government.
Channel’s response: Republic TV alleges 'vendetta' over reportage on Rajput's death
Meanwhile, Republic TV has denied the allegations leveled by the Mumbai Police.
The channel has accused the city police of a vendetta since the former questioned a probe into Rajput's death.
Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami said on Friday that he would sue Commissioner Singh, maintaining that "not a single BARC report mentioned Republic TV."
"The people of India know the truth," he said.