TRP scam: Enforcement Directorate begins probe after filing money laundering case

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New Delhi: In the alleged TRP scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has started a probe after filing a money laundering complaint. The ED complaint was filed after studying an FIR registered by Mumbai police in October. 

Under the money laundering, the ED will investigate the earning of money and criminal conspiracy through the scam. Earlier, the Mumbai Police and CBI have been investigating the matter, but both the cases were registered separately.

The Mumbai Police registered the case on the complaint of the Hansa agency, which had alleged that some of its former employees had stolen the company’s data and were trying to influence the TRP of certain channels. Through stolen data, the houses where TRP meters were installed, people were given money to watch selected channels to increase their TRPs.

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The Mumbai police arrested 11 people in this case, including former staff of Hansa, besides the distribution head of a channel. A similar complaint was also lodged at Hazratganj police station in Lucknow in the month of October, and the UP police handed over the case to the CBI for further investigation

After the Mumbai Police and the CBI, the investigation has reached the ED, which has registered the case on the basis of the FIR registered by the Mumbai Police, but in the coming days, the ED may also extend its probe to the FIR registered by the CBI.

Accordingly, the ED will probe if fake TRPs were generated, and if the money earned through this was used to generate illegal funds and create illegitimate assets.

Notably, TRP is a tool to judge which TV programmes are viewed the most and also indicates the viewers’ choice and popularity of a particular channel. It is calculated on the basis of TV channel viewership in a confidential set of households and measuring barometers are installed at such locations.

The alleged scam came to light when rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers.

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