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TRP scam: Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani arrested, remanded to Mumbai Police custody till December 15

A Mumbai court has remanded Khanchandani for two days police custody.

New Delhi: On Sunday, Mumbai police arrested Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani in the TRP rigging scam. A Mumbai court has remanded Khanchandani for two days police custody. This is the thirteenth arrest in the case.

Earlier this week Khanchandani and CFO Sivasubramanian Sundaram moved sessions court, Mumbai seeking anticipatory bail in the fake TRP scam case registered by the Mumbai police apprehending.

The police submitted before the court that Republic network in order to increase its TRP (TRP) paid Rs 15 lakhs monthly to ensure that more viewers watch their channels - Republic TV (English) and Republic Bharat (Hindi).

Media reports say that police found the alleged amount in possession of Abhishek Kolawade, accused of taking money from the channel for carrying out activities to increase the viewership and thereby the TRPs of the channel.

After interrogating ARG Outlier AVP Ghanshyam Singh, the police concluded that Singh was allegedly being directed to carry out illegal activities to increase TRPs for their channel by Republic TV COO Priya Mukherjee, who in turn was being instructed by Khanchandani.

The remand order for Khanchandani was sought on the above points. His counsel has argued that Khanchandi was targeted because Arnab Goswami is having a dispute with the Maharashtra government for several reasons. It was also pointed out that the arrest was deliberately done on Sunday, a day before his anticipatory bail application was listed for hearing before the Mumbai sessions court, so as to defeat his anticipatory bail application.

News Broadcasters Federation has condemned the arrest and pointed out that it is highly alarming on the law and order situation in the state. It has urged the Maharashtra government to follow the law of the land. It urged PMO to immediately set-up and independent neutral national agency to investigate any allegations of professional misconduct by journalists, executives, and owners of the media company, in order to prevent harassment

Mumbai Police unearthed the TRP scam on 8 October after rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers. Hansa had been tasked with installing barometers, which record viewership data at sample households.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh then claimed that Republic TV and two Marathi channels Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi- were involved in manipulating TRPs.

Since then several arrests have been done in the case and there has been a lot of developments both within and outside of the courtroom. 

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