Arnab Goswami and ex-CEO BARC Partho Dasgupta caused Rs 431 cr loss to Times Now: Cops on TRP scam

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Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami in collusion with Partho Dasgupta, the former CEO, BARC, had exploited TRPs of Times Now channel between June 2017 and March 2018 causing a loss of Rs 431 crore to the organization, said in chargesheet filed by Mumbai Police on Tuesday.

The CBI had registered this case on October 6, 2020, after BARC lodged a complaint that certain channels were contriving TRPs through illegal means. BARC installed 2,000 barometers in households in Mumbai to monitor TRPs in a top-secret and sensitive manner.

However, money was paid to households to keep their TV sets turned on to certain channels and shows to contrive the ratings, for which the funds were provided by The Republic Media owner and a well known anchor of India, Arnab Goswami, the chargesheet said.

Earlier, Mumbai police had said that Times Now was the leading news channel in TRP rankings, but within a week after Republic TV was launched in 2017. BARC officials had connived and brought down Times Now to number 2 position and CNN-18 was positioned from number two to third rank. The chargesheet also said that Arnab Goswami paid Partho Dasgupta huge sum and the latter bought expensive items including gold and silver jewellery from the funds he received for his involvement in the manipulation, stated in the chargesheet.

In chargesheet, it is stated that Arnab Goswami was the member of the various WhatsApp Groups used for the company’s work and the chats on some of them revealed the discussions on TRP manipulation.  Later, while police questioned Goswami, he accepted that the chat with Dasgupta is correct and he chatted with Partho Dasgupta over WhatsApp.

The chargesheet also tells that the accused used Dual LCN – getting one channel on multiple frequencies by multi-system operators and the cable operators and manipulated the channel viewership data received at BARC. Due to this TRPs of The Republic Media Network had risen.