The Mumbai Police on Thursday arrested former chief operating officer of the Broadcast Audience Research Council in connection with the alleged television ratings points manipulation case, PTI reported. Romil Ramgarhia is the first person associated with BARC to be held in the case.
“During the probe, Ramgarhia’s alleged involvement in the case came to light, following which he was placed under arrest today,” a police official told PTI. He added that the former chief operating officer will be produced before a local court in Mumbai for remand.
Ramgarhia, who is the 14th person to be held in the case, had quit from his post in July after being associated with BARC for six years, according to Mumbai Mirror.
His arrest came a day after Republic TV Chief Executive Officer Vikas Khanchandani was given bail. On Monday, a sessions court in Mumbai took exception to the hasty manner in which the city police had arrested Khanchandani. Additional Sessions Judge DE Kothalikar said that the court was disappointed that the police chose to arrest the Republic TV executive on December 13, a day before his plea for anticipatory bail was scheduled for hearing.
A fake TRP racket was uncovered in October when the Broadcast Audience Research Council filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group – one of BARC’s vendors on engagement with panel homes, or “people’s meters”. Some of the channels were accused of rigging their TRPs by bribing some households to watch it.
Several Republic TV officials have been questioned in the matter. Apart from Republic TV, Box Cinema and Marathi channel Fakt Marathi were the others named during the preliminary investigation.
On December 9, Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami had moved the Bombay High Court seeking a stay on the Mumbai Police’s investigations into the scam. The petition, filed by Goswami and ARG Outlier Media, which owns Republic TV, alleged that Ghanshyam Singh was subjected to custodial torture following his arrest on November 10. A day later, the channel had also moved the National Human Rights Commission against the alleged torture of Singh.
The NHRC on Monday issued notices to the Maharashtra director general of police and inspector general of prisons. It has directed them to submit Singh’s initial health screening report at the time of his admission to jail and his medical treatment record during his stay in the custody, within four weeks.