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Republic TV Distribution Head held

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Mumbai: Mumbai Police on Tuesday arrested Republic TV distribution head Ghanshyam Singh in a case of alleged television rating point (TRP) manipulation. Singh was arrested from Thane and is the 12th person to be arrested in the case. “Singh connived with the wanted accused (including the owner and those who manage affairs of the channel) to rig TRPs,” the police said in its remand application for the executive.

“The role of the wanted accused is now being probed in detail.” ET has reviewed the police plea, which also states that Singh allegedly paid Rs 15 lakh to another arrested accused. “From the interrogation of arrested accused Abhishek Kolavade, it has been revealed that between January and July 2020, he accepted Rs 15 lakh from Singh at the premises of another accused Ashish Chaudhary and also through hawala operators. From the amount, some amount was transferred to other arrested accused – Ramji Verma, Dinesh Vishwakarma and Umesh Mishra,” the police application said.

The money was used to bribe households where the bar-o-meters were installed so that they watch Republic TV for the maximum period, the police claimed. “Of the said amount, Rs 11.70 lakh was recovered while searching the residence of Kolavade,” said the remand application. “The investigation has revealed that Singh paid Kolavade in cash and therefore he was placed under arrest on Tuesday morning and produced before a local court for want of custody.”

Republic TV termed the arrest as one “born out of pre-scripted vendetta instead of evidence and facts. Singh, who heads Republic media networks’s western region distribution, has continuously cooperated with the Mumbai police in the case…He has personally been through over 40 hours of semi-custodial interrogation, and his current detention crafts a new low.” The police also told court that its investigation has not found anything against India Today news channel. The FIR in the matter was based on the complaint given by BARC’s vendor Hansa Research Group, which mentioned India Today as one of the channels that rigged TRPs.

“While examining one of the witnesses cited by the complainant, the witness revealed that she had not named India Today as the channel wasn’t available in the package availed by her. Upon enquiry with the concerned DTH operator, the said company also revealed that India Today wasn’t available in the package subscribed by the witness. In her statement, the said witness also mentioned that she hasn’t taken any money from any of the BARC employee to watch India Today,” the remand application said.

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