Commenting on Republic TV's expose on India Today being named in a Hansa research report about alleged TRP manipulation, lawyer Ishkaran Singh Bhandari on Saturday, opined that the attempts to drag Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami had failed. Claiming that such attempts had made 'Arnab 100 times bigger', Bhandari said he had received numerous calls in support for Arnab. This development comes amid the ongoing 'alleged TRP scam', being probed by the Mumbai police.
The attempt to drag Arnab Goswami down has failed miserably.— Ishkaran Singh Bhandari (@ishkarnBHANDARI) October 10, 2020
Actually ended up making Arnab 💯 times bigger.
The amount of msgs & calls I have gotten by people supporting him is incredible.
Earlier in the day, Republic TV accessed a 7-page report by BARC-associate Hansa Research Group Private Limited which highlighted cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy committed by its employees - Vishal Bhandari, Dinesh Vishwakarma and Unknown Persons. The report which was part of a routine audit uncovered that one of its employees happened to live at what was one of their panel homes where another Bar-O-Meter tracking device was found. Bhandari has confessed to the BARC vigilance team that a person named Vinay called him and asked him to approach 5 panel homes and ask them to watch India Today daily for 2 hours. These statements have also been mentioned in Mumbai police's FIR, filed by Hansa Research.
On Thursday, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh held a press conference to share details of an alleged 'TRP scam' into which the police were probing - naming Republic TV and two Marathi channels - Fakht Marathi and Box Cinema. As per Bhandari’s own confession to the BARC Vigilance team, Vinay paid him Rs.5000 as commission for distributing Rs.1000 among 5 panel homes. A witness to the alleged TRP scam - Tejal Solanki - spoke to Republic TV, mentioning Vishal Bhandari allegedly coercing her adult children to 'watch India Today'. Mumbai police has arrested four people - Fakht Marathi proprietor Shirish Shetty, Box Cinema owner Narayan Sharma, Hansa research's ex-employee Vishal Bhandari and ex-staffer Bomapalli Rao Mistri in connection with this case, stated Param Bir Singh.
Apart from this, OpIndia accessed a report wherein it was revealed that BARC had fined India Today Rs 5 lakh by the BARC Disciplinary Council in July after their explanation did not satisfactorily explain an ‘abnormal increase in the viewership’ of India Today. It also stated that India Today had 'breached the provisions of Section 7 of the EULA and has committed Viewership Malpractice', but let them go with a mere warning and fine, as it was the first offence. India Today has threatened BARC with legal action as it 'leaked confidential hearings' and has alleged that BARC has fined it without 'presenting any concrete evidence'.