The Mumbai Police in a press release claimed that the 10th arrested in the ongoing TRP scam case has allegedly confessed to being paid by Republic TV and another channel to artificially inflate TRP ratings.
The suspect in question is Abhishek Kolwade of Max Media. The Mumbai Police further alleges that he confessed to accepting money from Republic TV and News Nation, with which he paid "certain households through his associates". They have already arrested two of his associates, the press release revealed.
A money trail between ARG Outlier Media Private Ltd. (which owns Republic) and Hansa Research group (tasked by BARC with monitoring ratings) has also been revealed and is under investigation, the police claim. A recent leak to the Economic Times claimed that a sum of 32 lakhs had been paid by Hansa to ARG. However, Hansa has denied any "suspicious transaction" as mentioned in the press release.
In their own press release, Hansa CEO Shekar Swamy said: "The last time Hansa Vision has purchased advertising time in Republic TV was two years ago...for a value of ₹108 lakhs. The Mumbai Police is perhaps incorrectly linking this with the current TRP-related investigation."
Republic TV too has corroborated this version of events.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police has roped in forensic auditors to assist the SITs in the probe, with a focus on Hansa Research Group employees who have misused confidential data to benefit select channels.