Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta has reportedly submitted a handwritten statement to the Mumbai Police in which he claims Republic Chief Arnab Goswami paid him $12,000 and Rs. 40 lakh for the course of three years to fix ratings.
A 3600 supplementary charge sheet has been filed by Mumbai Police in the Republic TV TRP Scam case, which includes the WhatsApp chats between Dasgupta and Goswami, statements of 59 key persons involved in the scam, and the BARC forensic audit report. The BARC audit report gives instances of manipulation of ratings for Times Now, Republic TV and Aaj tak by the BARC’s executives.
Excerpt of BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta’s statement
Here’s an excerpt 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.”
Another excerpt of Dasgupta’s statement gives the testimony of him allegedly receiving cash from Goswami in exchange of getting Republic TV the number 1 rating:
“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…”
Times Now viewership suppressed in favour of Republic TV,
The charge sheet dated July 24, 2020, also cites evidence that “indicated favoritism shown to few channels”. The BARC audit report in the charge sheet has instances where Times Now’s viewership was suppressed in favour of Republic’s which resulted in Republic’s higher weekly ratings.
The BARC audit report states that on June 18, 2017, Rushab Mehta, Head of BARC West wrote to Romil Ramgarhia, another BARC executive saying, “As required, Times Now numbers are changed, while Republic is kept the same”. According to the BARC report, “this is pointing that the senior management wanted Republic TV to be number 1, and the team was working to achieve this objective.”
The report also includes a conversation between BARC executives and India Today group’s senior marketing executive about “pre-fixing” Aaj Tak’s ratings. According to the charge sheet, Dasgupta’s statement came straight from the Office of the Crime Intelligence Unit where two witnesses were also present.
BARC CEO’s defense lawyer denies Dasgupta’s statement
However, Partho Dasgupta’s defense lawyer Arjun Singh gave a statement denying Dasgupta’s statement. “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,” said Arjun Singh.
Meanwhile, Republic TV has responded to the recent development in the Republic TV TRP scam and issued a statement saying, “there has been a collusion of corporate and political interests to target Arnab Goswami.”