The Mumbai police on Monday arrested one more person in connection with the TRP manipulation racket, taking the number of those in custody in
the case to five, official said. Vinay Tripathi, a former employee of Hansa Research agency, was arrested from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh by the
Mumbai police’s Crime Branch, they said.
He earlier worked as a relationship manager at Hansa Research, they said. Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Hansa Pravin Nizara and the company’s deputy manager Nitin Deokar were questioned on Monday by the Crime Branch in connection with the alleged scam, the officials said.
Chief Financial officer (CFO) of Republic TV Shivam Sundaram is likely to appear before the Crime Branch on Tuesday, they said. According to the officials, Tripathi is the person who used to pay money to watch some selected channel to arrested accused Vishal Bhandari.
Tripathis name was mentioned in the remand copy of Bhandari, they said. Tripathi will be brought to Mumbai on a transit remand, the officials said.
Distribution head of Republic TV Ghanshyam Singh was questioned for seven hours in Daman earlier, the officials added.
Police had issued summonses to Republic TV’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vikas Khanchandani and two Chief Operating Officers (COOs) for questioning in the case.
Khanchandani and COO Harsh Bhandari, who appeared before the police on Sunday, were questioned for nine and five hours respectively, police said. Another COO Priya Mukherjee is in Bengaluru and is yet to appear before the Crime Branch, the officials added.
Republic TV on Sunday said it will not succumb to any efforts to curtail editorial freedom, after its CEO and COO were questioned by the Mumbai police in connection with the case.
The fake TRP scam came to light when ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers. Hansa is one of BARCs vendors on engagement with panel homes or people’s meters.
Last week, Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh had claimed that Republic TV and two Marathi channels – Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi — had manipulated TRPs.
Republic TV has rubbished Singh’s claims. The police had earlier arrested four people, including the owners of Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi.
They are in police custody till Tuesday.
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