TRP Scam: 3 Republic TV employees get anticipatory bail

The case had come to light in October 2020.

New Delhi: A sessions court has granted anticipatory bail to three Republic TV employees in connection with the alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) scam, that came to light in October last year.

The three employees named Shivendu Mulherkar, Ranjit Walter, and Sivasubramaniyam Sundaram had filed their pleas before the court last year, according to their lawyer Vikram Kamath.

On Wednesday, the court allowed their anticipatory bail applications. According to their lawyer, the three accused had submitted before the court that they were not named in the FIR registered in the case initially and there was no ground against them (for arrest). Subsequently, a charge sheet was filed and they were named as accused. So, whatever material was there, it was before the court, and so, their custodial interrogation was not required, Kamath had argued.

In a 1800 page supplementary charge sheet filed in June, the Mumbai police had named the three as accused, along with senior journalist and Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. Apart from him, the Mumbai Police had named four others from ARG Outlier Media– COO Priya Mukherjee, Shivendu Mulelkar, and Shiva Sundaram as accused in the case.

The alleged fake TRP scam came to light in October 2020 when rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group (HRG), alleging that certain television channels were allegedly rigging TRP numbers by bribing households where BARC bar-o-meters were installed to tune into a particular channel throughout the day. An FIR in the case was registered after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh named the channel as being involved in the scam. 

As many as 15 arrests have been made in the case, the most prominent being former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta, who later got bail after furnishing a bond of Rs two lakh. The arrested people were charged with cheating, criminal conspiracy, and destruction of evidence.

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