A court in Mumbai on Wednesday granted bail to Republic Media Network’s CEO Vikas Khanchandani in the alleged TRP fraud case. He was granted bail by a metropolitan magistrate court on a cash surety of Rs 50,000. Notably, Republic TV has already denied any wrongdoing.
Vikas Khanchandani was arrested by the Mumbai Police on December 13 in connection with the alleged TRP rigging case. The Republic executive was arrested from his Mumbai residence by the police’s Crime Intelligence Unit.
Khanchandani’s arrest was made after the Supreme Court rejected a plea by Republic TV seeking protection of its employees from arrest and the transfer of the cases to the CBI.
Mumbai police probing 3 channels
The Mumbai police had in October said it is probing three television channels, including Republic TV, for allegedly inflating their viewership by bribing households in Mumbai.
Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh had said one of the arrested person is a former employee of an agency that installed ‘people metres’ used to measure viewership.
The top cop had said that the three channels, which also include Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema, used to pay around Rs 400-500 to households for keeping their channels on.
“The biggest name to emerge is Republic TV. Republic TV employees admitted to manipulation. The directors and promoters of Republic TV are being investigated for rating fraud,” said Singh.
They will be investigated for cheating and breach of trust and the bank accounts of these channels will be examined, Singh added.
Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami had refuted the allegations and termed them as “baseless”. Arnab said the channel will sue the Mumbai police commissioner for criminal defamation.
How is TV viewership measured?
TV viewership—called the Television Rating Point or TRP—is measured through a complex system that involves installing a device that can detect which channel was on in households during a particular period of time. More viewership means more revenue as advertisers go to channels that grab maximum eyeballs.
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