Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami paid me Rs 40 lakh to fix TRP ratings: Partho Dasgupta to Mumbai Police

Former BARC CEO gave a handwritten note to Mumbai Police that he received Rs 40 lakh over 3 years from Arnab Goswami for manipulating ratings in favour of Republic TV, as per police chargesheet

Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami paid me Rs 40 lakh to fix TRP ratings: Partho Dasgupta to Mumbai Police

NH Web Desk

The former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, Partho Dasgupta, has said in a handwritten statement to Mumbai Police that he received US$12,000 from Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami for two separate holidays and a total of Rs 40 lakh in over three years, for manipulating ratings in favour of the news channel, according to the supplementary chargesheet filed in the TRP scam case, a report in Indian Express stated.

On January 11, the 3,600-page supplementary chargesheet, filed by Mumbai Police also includes a BARC forensic audit report, WhatsAap chats between Partho Dasgupta and Arnab Goswami, and statements of 59 persons, including former council employees and cable operators, the report stated.

BARC forensic audit report has named some other news channels also including Republic, Times Now and Aaj Tak for instances of alleged manipulation as well as “pre-fixing” of ratings for the channels by BARC’s top executives.

A supplementary chargesheet was filed against former BARC COO Romil Ramgarhia and Republic Media Network CEO Vikas Khanchandani also.

A first chargesheet was filed against 12 persons in November 2020.

Dasgupta’s statement was recorded on December 27, 2020, in the presence of two witnesses, according to the second chargesheet.

The Indian Express has quoted from Partho Dasgupta’s statement, “I have known Arnab Goswami since 2004. We used to work together in Times Now. I joined BARC as CEO in 2013. Arnab Goswami launched Republic in 2017. Even before launching Republic TV he would talk to me about plans for the launch and indirectly hint at helping him to get good ratings to his channel. Goswami knew very well that I know how the TRP system works. He also alluded to helping me out in the future.

“I worked with my team to ensure manipulation of TRP ratings that made Republic TV get number 1 rating. This would have continued from 2017 to 2019. Towards this, in 2017 Arnab Goswami had personally met me at St Regis hotel, Lower Parel and given me 6000 dollars cash for my France and Switzerland family trip…also in 2019 Arnab Goswami had personally met me at St Regis and given me 6000 dollars for my Sweden and Denmark family trip. Also in 2017, Goswami had personally met me at ITC Parel hotel and given me Rs 20 lakh cash… also in 2018 and 2019… Goswami met me at ITC hotel Parel and gave me Rs 10 lakhs each time…” the statement as quoted by Indian Express further reads.

Arjun Singh, Dasgupta’s lawyer has completely denied the allegations. “We totally deny this allegation as the statement would have been recorded under duress. It does not have any evidentiary value in the court of law.” The lawyer told the Indian Express. Goswami’s legal team also declined to comment. Goswami has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and alleged he was being targeted.

The chargesheet also includes BARC’s audit report, dated July 24, 2020, which states that evidence “indicated favouritism shown to few channels” and “in some cases, we suspect that the ratings were pre-decided”. It includes statements by those cable operators too who were asked to show Republic channel on two channels in exchange for money.

BARC in an e mail to the newspaper refused to comment on the matter as “the matter is a subject of an ongoing investigation by the various law enforcement agencies.” Republic TV responded by saying in a statement that “there has been a collusion of corporate and political interests to target” Goswami.

Times Now responded by defending the use of landing pages, saying that they are not illegal.

Response from the India Today Group was still awaited.

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Published: 25 Jan 2021, 11:09 AM