TRP Fraud: Mumbai crime branch probes role of two more TV channelsUpdated: Oct 22, 2020, 00:28 IST
Mumbai Police’s crime branch while investigating the television rating points (TRP) fraud has found the involvement of two more channels — a movie channel and a news channel. The involvement of the channels in the fraud came to light during the questioning of two former employees of Hansa Research Group Private Limited — Dinesh Vishwakarma and Ramji Varma, who were arrested on Tuesday. Both the accused have been remanded in police custody till October 23.
Inspector Sachin Vaze, who is heading the CIU (criminal intelligence unit) and is also part of the investigating team, said, “Vishwakarma and Varma revealed that they were working for a movie channel, and had distributed money for TRP manipulation. Another news channel’s name also came up during an inquiry. Both the channels were allegedly involved in manipulating TRP”.
“We have not added both the channels’ names in the first information report (FIR) yet. We are conducting an inquiry and once the evidence is found, their names will be added and action will be taken against them,” said a senior crime branch officer.
Meanwhile, crime branch also added four new sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the case which includes section 174 (non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant), 179 (refusing to answer public servant authorised to question), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), 204 (secreting or destroying any document to prevent its production as evidence) of IPC.
Vaze confirmed that the sections were added. “The sections are added in the FIR because some people are not cooperating in the inquiry and did not come to join the investigation after being summoned,” he said.
On October 6, crime branch had registered a FIR into the fraud at Kandivli police station under sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC and had arrested four accused — Vishal Bhandari, 20, a former Hansa employee; Bompalli Rao Mistry alias Sanjiv Rao, 44; and Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema owners Shirish Shetty and Narayan Sharma.
Meanwhile, crime branch on Wednesday recorded the statement of three senior Republic TV employees, including the news channel’s chief financial officer (CFO) S Sundaram, executive editor Niranjan Narayan Swamy and distribution head Ghanshyam Singh. They were asked to come again on Thursday for further inquiry, said a crime branch officer. The channel’s COO Priya Mukharjee was summoned on Thursday.