The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday filed a case to investigate allegations of manipulation of Television Rating Points scam by three channels, PTI reported.
The CBI registered the case after a complaint was filed in Uttar Pradesh in connection with the scam, according to NDTV. The CBI inquiry was recommended by the Adityanath-led government.
The Lucknow Police had on Sunday filed a first information based on a complaint by an organisation named Golden Rabbit Communications, according to the news channel.
The Mumbai Police is also looking into the alleged rigging of ratings by Republic TV, Box Cinema and Marathi channel Fakt Marathi. Six people have been arrested in the case so far, according to Hindustan Times.
Republic TV had on Monday said that it will sue Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh for Rs 200 crore for allegedly damaging its reputation by linking it to the scam. Republic TV has repeatedly claimed that the summons to its top editors in the TRP scam were part of a “desperate witch hunt” by Singh. They have also accused the police of pursuing an agenda against free press.
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Last week, the Broadcast Audience Research Council decided to pause weekly ratings for news channels for three months and review its measurement system, amid a row over the alleged manipulation of TRP.
On October 14, Republic TV’s Executive Editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy and Senior Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor appeared before the crime branch of the Mumbai Police to record their statements in the case.
Republic TV Chief Executive Officer Vikas Khanchandani had appeared before the Mumbai police for questioning in case on October 11. The TV channel’s Chief Financial Officer Shiva Subramaniam Sundaram was supposed to appear before the police on the previous day, but he asked for a reschedule citing “personal commitments”.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry, and a parliamentary panel on information technology have noted that TRP measures are not in tune with the current technologies. They also observed that the English news space, because of its minuscule size, is particularly susceptible to manipulation.
The fake TRP racket was uncovered earlier in October when the Broadcast Audience Research Council filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers. Hansa Research is one of BARC’s vendors on engagement with panel homes, or “people’s meters”.