In a mammoth discovery, in the investigation related to the TRP scam, the Enforcement Directorate has declared a Provisional Attachment Order, describing the depth of the abovementioned scam and exposing the channels manipulating TRPs. India Today has been mentioned over 50 times in the order in relation to the TRP scam where money was paid to the people with the Bar-o-meters in their houses to increase the TRPs.
Key highlights of the 64-page Provisional Order released by the Enforcement Directorate:
India Today was originally mentioned in the FIR regarding the TRP manipulation scam and was mysteriously given a clean chit by the Mumbai Police within just 48 hours. The report states that the accused relationship managers working at Hansa Research Pvt. Ltd. were paid bribes to induce houses with Bar-o-meters to watch India Today.
The Enforcement Directorate order states that Mr. Nitin Deokar, the main complainant of the TRP manipulation case, Dy. General Manager of Hansa Research Group Pvt. Ltd testified in his statement that Vishal Bhandari had admitted to being approached by a person named Vinay Tripathi to convince 5 panel-homes in Mumbai to watch the India Today channel daily for 2 hours.
In his confession, Umesh Mishra, an ex-relationship Manager at Hansa Research, stated that he was approached by Vinay Tripathi, also an Ex-Relationship Manager of M/s Hansa Research Group Pvt. Ltd, who offered him to convince some houses where Bar-O-Meters were installed to watch the India Today for a half-hour to 1 hour daily. For this, he was given Rs. 15,000 every month in his bank account.
The order also contains the testimonies of the house owners who have confessed to being bribed to watch particular channels, including India Today. Mukesh Dauda said that he was paid by Dinesh Vishwakarma for watching India Today and News Nation. Similarly, Rajesh Shukla recorded his statement under section 50 of Provisions of Money Laundering Act, 2002 on 13.01.2021 wherein he said that he was paid by Umesh Mishra for watching News Nation and India Today Channel.
Pulak Banerjee, VP of BARC, in his statement to the ED confirmed abnormalities in viewership in respect of India Today, News Nation, Box Cinema, Maha Movie, Fakt Marathi.
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