BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Sunday reacted to Republic Media Network's newsbreak exposing Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and slammed the state police for showing the 'politics of revenge'. This comes after Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) confirmed in an email to Republic that there was never a case against Republic Media Network and there was no malpractice or illegality found against it in the TRP case.
Addressing a press conference, Patra stated that the vilification of any news channel is not a democratic call and further asserted that no police agency should use such tactics to show the politics of revenge.
"Vilification of any news channel, just because the news channel has a messenger to raise such pertinent issues, is not a democratic call. No police agency or any agency should use such tactics to show the politics of revenge with the messenger. Shooting the messenger is not a good practice in a democracy," said Patra.
Furthermore, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya also lashed out at Mumbai police commissioner and Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray and questioned their evidence against Republic's involvement in the TRP matter.
"Recently, the report of BARC came out and they did not find any substance in regard to Republic's involvement. I would like to appeal to the Mumbai police commissioner and Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray that what are their evidence to prove the Republic's involvement in the TRP scam," said Somaiya.
Republic Media Network’s CEO Vikas Khanchandani wrote an email to BARC on October 16, 2020, requesting it to "confirm in the public domain" that the "BARC and its vigilance team has found no infringement by Republic TV (ARG Outliers Media Pvt. Ltd)". In response to Vikas Khanchandani's email, BARC responded on October 17, 2020, by thanking the network for their "faith in the internal mechanisms of BARC" and said that "if there was any disciplinary action initiated against ARG Outlier Media Private Ltd, then BARC India would have communicated the same to you along with necessary documents for your response."
Thus, this e-mail proves that BARC did not allege any malpractice against the Republic Media Network, and yet, the Mumbai Police Commissioner floated a factually-bereft campaign against it, which has been comprehensively exposed at every turn. The email by BARC shows that the Mumbai Police Commissioner's entire campaign against Republic Media Network was based on a lie.
Param Bir Singh had held a news conference to accuse Republic TV and two Marathi news channels - Fakht Marathi and Box Cinema - of being involved in an alleged TRP scam. He claimed that after an investigation based on a complaint by an agency working with BARC, it has found that money was paid to watch the channel for certain hours in order to increase ratings. However, just six hours later, Republic Media Network accessed the FIR - based on which Police had undertaken said investigation - and exposed that there was not one mention of Republic TV or any affiliate-entity of the Republic Media Network in it; Instead, the FIR named another news channel. Republic also accessed the complaint based on which the FIR was filed, which concurred that Republic was in no way named.