Fake TRP case: Mumbai Police names Arnab Goswami as accused in second chargesheet
Mumbai, Jun 22: The Mumbai Police has named senior television journalist Arnab Goswami and some employees of two Republic group channels as accused in the alleged TRP (Television Rating Points) rigging scam in the second chargesheet filed before a court here on Tuesday.
The 1,912-page chargesheet was submitted before a magistrate's court by the police's Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) probing the case. Besides Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, and ARG Outlier Media that runs Republic TV channels, the police has named five other accused including some employees of Maha Movie channel, Republic News and Republic Bharat in the fresh chargesheet.
The first chargesheet in the case filed in November last year had named ex-BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta and Republic TV CEO Vikash Khanchandani. As per law, once a chargesheet is filed, the next procedure will be for the court to take congisance of the same.
The magistrate would then supply copies of that chargesheet to all the accused and their lawyers, and once the copies are supplied, the magistrate would commit the case to the court of sessions. The alleged fake TRP scam came to light in October last year when the rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group (HRG), alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers.
The HRG had been tasked with installing barometers for recording channel viewership data at sample households. Police had arrested about dozens of people, including the top officials of BARC and Republic TV. Most of them are currently out on bail.
In March this year, the Bombay High Court had asked the Mumbai police why Republic TV and Goswami had not been named as accused in the case if the investigators believed to possess adequate evidence against them. Senior advocate Ashok Mundargi, the counsel for Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, had told the HC that the police had named Goswami and several employees of the ARG Outlier Media as suspects, but had no evidence to charge them as accused in the case.
However, the prosecution told the HC that the police have adequate evidence in the case and that they are still "collecting" additional evidence.
The ARG Outlier Media and Goswami had approached the high court last year, filing a bunch of petitions seeking several reliefs in the alleged TRP scam. They had alleged that the whole case was malafide and they had been targeted for Republic TV's reportage in connection with the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and Palghar lynching case last year.