The Enforcement Directorate (ED), conducting a money-laundering probe into the Television Rating Points (TRP) scam, has provisionally attached properties worth Rs 32 crore of three channels accused in it. These channels include Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema and Maha Movie. The Mumbai Police had registered an FIR against the three channels along with several others and had alleged them of manipulating TRPs.
The assets, in the form of land and commercial and residential units, are located in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai and Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The ED probe has revealed that the proceeds of the alleged crime for these channels was ₹46 crore.
The agency found that confidential information of households where bar-o-meters were installed was revealed by relationship managers to various unscrupulous elements for pecuniary gains and, thereafter, the households were bribed and induced to watch specific channels, which fraudulently enhanced their TRP. Advertisers were allegedly deceived based on rigged ratings.
It is alleged that in the case of two of the channels in question, just five compromised households were contributing to about 25% of the viewership in Mumbai for the relevant period and the third channel, five compromised households were contributing to about 12 % of the viewership in Mumbai.
About 1,800 bar-o-meters have been installed in Mumbai. Close to 44,000 units have been installed across the country.
Further investigation has revealed how the top officials of BARC were allegedly involved in TRP manipulations in connivance with the channels' officials. The police have already filed their chargesheet in the case.