Two people have already been arrested.
The channels allegedly indulging in the fraudulent activities include Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema, and the action follows a complaint registered by the Crime Branch recently. Raut asked, defending the Mumbai Police.
A high-level team led by Joint Police Commissioner Milind Bharambe, DCP Nandkumar Thakur and DCP Akbar Pathan, along with other officers are investigating the matter. Out of these, the households which will have Bar-O-Meters or what the BARC calls the Recruitment Sample are randomly selected. "That will be conclusive evidence of the culpability of any channels involvement in the scam".
The body says it will co-operate with the Mumbai Police in its ongoing investigation. During an internal investigation, it found that Hansa employee Vishal Bhandari was involved in tampering readings. It also tightened the noose around "Hansa", an agency associated with the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which calculates the TRP. Sources said while Hansa had asked him to quit in June, the company did not file a police complaint at the time. Any advertising revenue made by manipulating ratings is a crime.
The statement also said, "Preliminary investigations also revealed that these accused persons have manipulated the sampling metering services by inducing the barometer users by paying them periodically to watch a particular TV channel / s". He identified Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema by name. "Numerous people in whose homes these barometers have been installed have accepted that they have benefited monetarily for keeping their TV sets on even if they actually didn't watch it". They also added that the culprits, whoever they may be, will be investigated and they will take this case of fraudery to its logical conclusion. "Rao was the go-between for channels and Bhandari".
The channel's Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami is famous for shouting on air at guests who do not agree with him and spewing venom against Pakistan and China.
The biggest buzz in the media and entertainment space today is the sensational claim by the Mumbai Police that the BARC ratings are rigged. Bhandari was in charge of 83 such homes in Mumbai's northern suburbs.
On whether Republic TV was named by the complainant, Mr Singh said: "A suspicious trend was conveyed to us by BARC".
According to Elara Capital, even in a slow year like 2020, Hindi news and movie genres together contributed 20% of spend for TV advertising is based on viewership and TRPs, and the percentage is only growing. The police are checking if there is any suspicious activity in other homes where BAR-o-meters have been installed. They were produced before the court on Friday, which remanded them in police custody till October 18.