The TRP scam has set a new sensation in media with a number of viewers testifying they were paid to keep the channel on even when they were not watching. The issue took an expected yet interesting turn with Mumbai police on Saturday issuing summons to Republic TV CFO Shiva Subramaniyam Sundaram.
However, the CFO skipped the summons citing the channel had filed a petition with the Supreme Court challenging Mumbai Police’s summons to record his statement in connection with the TRP fraud case. He then quoted personal commitments to request that the summons be rescheduled and will available only by 14-15 of this month.
“He did not appear before the probe team. He informed the police that the channel has approached the Supreme Court and that there will be a hearing on the matter within a week. Citing this, he requested the police not to record his statement,” an official said.
It was learnt that the Mumbai Police had also asked several officials from advertising agencies to join the probe. On the other hand, the Mumbai Police has also roped in the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) along with the Mumbai Crime Branch to probe the TRP scam.
It all started with BARC(Broadcast Audience Research Council), an agency that tracks television viewership – alleged the numbers were being fudged by certain channels. The two other channels named in early investigations are local channels Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema.
On October 8, the Mumbai Police arrested owners of channels Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema after their Detection Crime Branch busted a TRP racket which the police suspect involves an amount of over Rs 100 crore. Meanwhile, Republic TV has since issued a public statement asserting that the channel has not even been named in the FIR, and that only India Today has been named.