In a big revelation on Saturday, reports have alleged that DCP Nandkumar Thakur, who was a part of the team probing the alleged TRP scam was transferred on October 16. This comes amid the report that the top cop had told reporters in an informal meeting that there was no evidence against Republic TV in the TRP case.
As per a report published by Op India, Thakur has been transferred to the Traffic Police Department only 6 months after he was made the DCP of the Crime Branch.
The Op India report suggests that an informal meeting with journalists took place at the police headquarters on October 15, where Thakur allegedly told them that Republic TV was not an accused in the TRP scam case. The officer was reportedly shunted out within 24 hours after this reported meeting because Param Bir Singh allegedly learnt about Thakur's remarks. Moreover, reports added that both the journalists as well as their respective editors were informed that none of what Thakur said is true or reportable. Thakur has also been investigating the social media 'fake followers' scam.
While the Mumbai Police Commissioner addressed a press briefing on October 8 alleging the busting of the 'manipulation of TRP' racket, the FIR filed on October 6, 2020, threw light on the actual sequence of events. The FIR made no mention of Republic TV, Republic Bharat, Republic World or any affiliate of the Republic Media Network. It was the arrest of Vishal Bhandari- the once Relationship Manager of the Hansa Research Group Private Limited that led to a complaint being lodged with the Mumbai Police by Nitin Deokar, the Deputy General Manager of the same company. This company is reportedly responsible for installing and maintaining the Bar-O-Meter of the BARC.
As per Vishal Bhandari’s own confession to the BARC Vigilance team, a person named Vinay allegedly paid him Rs.5000 as commission for distributing Rs.1000 among 5 panel homes, where the Bar-O-Meter is installed. An audit inquiry by BARC confirmed that 5 households were indeed bribed to watch India Today daily for a minimum of two hours from November 2019 to May 2020. However, interestingly, the Mumbai Police’s news conference named Republic TV.
It is pertinent to note that the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh made no mention of the fact that Republic TV was not named in the original FIR. On October 10, the Republic Media Network accessed the 7-page Hansa Research report which did not name Republic Media Network or any of its affiliates even once.