The Enforcement Directorate claims that no evidence was discovered against Republic TV in the purported false Television Rating Points scam (TRP scam) discovered by the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police in the chargesheet submitted to a Mumbai court. The charges of manipulating TRP statistics in the case were dropped against Republic TV and R Bharat by the agency.
The ED added that it had not finished looking into two further news outlets, News Nation and India Today. ED filed its criminal charge with a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on September 15, 2022. The charge sheet was examined by special judge MG Deshpande on Wednesday.
ARG Outlier Media, which owns Republic TV and R Bharat, its editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, or BARC officials, were not included in the charge sheet, which is significant. The ED also claimed that an examination of the raw data from the supposedly viewing Republic channels households “showed that these households were watching channels other than Republic TV and R Bharat.”
The ED did, however, acknowledge some cases of TRP manipulation, “further investigation is in progress,” it claimed, adding that it had found “leads that certain households were viewing News Nation and India Today in lieu of money from RMs and also a “wider conspiracy” among channel viewers, agents, and RMs was suspected in order to persuade or compel the panel homes to watch particular channels in order to profit financially. As seen by the numerous FIRs filed by BARC in other states, the malice appears to be more ingrained.
ED requested raw data from BARC for the panel households that were reportedly watching Republic channels. The information revealed that the homes viewed stations besides Republic, and they also denied having received any payment. Even while Republic channels were exonerated of the allegations, the ED discovered leads from several houses that claimed to have watched India Today and News Nation in exchange for money from RMs.
The chargesheet acknowledged a larger conspiracy among channel viewers, agents, and RMs to persuade or entice panel homes to watch specific channels for financial gain, and the malice appeared to be more ingrained as evidenced by FIRs filed by BARC in other States.