The News Broadcasters Federation of India has written a letter to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) demanding explanation for the bribery allegations raised by the latter on Tuesday against Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze.
The letter was sent by R. Jai Krishna, Secretary-General of NBF and is addressed to Punit Goenka, the CEO of BARC. It demands an explanation for how and when the bribe was paid as well as the extent of BARC's knowledge of Vaze's involvement in levelling 'false allegations' against its member channels.
According to reports The NBF has posed 10 questions at BARC, seeking "immediate response".
- Did BARC or any officials thereof pay Rs. 30 lakhs as a bribe to Sachin Vaze and/or his associates?
- If the answer to the above is yes, when was the said bribe paid?
- What was the understanding between Sachin Vaze & BARC and/or any of its officials?
- Who are the officials at BARC that are aware of this transaction?
- Did the CEO of BARC and/or any of the board members of BARC know about this bribe?
- The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is the nodal Ministry for BARC. Did BARC inform the said Ministry about the bribe sought and bribe given?
- Were you aware when you paid the bribe that Sachin Vaze was actively playing a critical role in levelling false charges in the TRP case?
- Is it true that the bribe was paid in the duration when the News Broadcasters Federation was repeatedly writing to BARC regarding false charges against our member channels?
- Did BARC disclose to any authorities that a bribe was sought before making the said payment?
- Are you aware that under sections 8 and 9 of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act) payment of a bribe which has not been reported within 7 days by the bribe payer is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years?
The Enforcement Directorate's investigation into the Television Rating Points Scandal had thrown up links to disgraced API Sachin Vaze, who was accused by BARC officials of having extorted 30 lakhs in order to not initiate custodial harassment.
According to a report by the Times of India, BARC used several dummy accounts to transfer the money under the pretence of performing construction-related work on the company premises. BARC officials have also reportedly testified to harassment and ill-behaviour from Vaze who would often keep them waiting long hours or threaten them with further custodial harassment.
Vaze is also currently being investigated in the Antilla bomb case where a car full of explosives was left outside the residence of prominent industrialist MukeshAmbani.
The Enforcement Directorate is due to file its first chargesheet in the TRP scam case and it will include bribery allegations. It has also attached the properties of Fakht Marathi, Box News and Maha Movies who have been accused of manipulating barometer readings to boost their own TRP ratings and generate profit.