Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani has been arrested on Sunday by the Mumbai Crime Branch in the TRP manipulation scam. Khanchandani is the 13th person to be arrested in the case so far.
The arrest was confirmed by a senior Mumbai police official who said that Khanchandani was arrested early in the morning on Sunday from his residence. His involvement in the case came to light during the interrogation of Republic TV’s distribution head Ghanshyam Singh who was arrested and charge-sheeted earlier by the police.
An investigating officer said, “We have direct evidence against Khanchandani and have also found his link with earlier arrested accused Ghanshyam Singh.” Khanchandani will be produced in the court today and he has already been questioned twice by the investigators.
The crime branch’s probe has revealed that some cable operators had used dual LCN (Landing Channel Number) technology whereby Republic’s two news channels would show up in the kids and news channel genres respectively. Khanchandani was part of an internal WhatsApp group where discussions about this practice would take place.
For the unversed, the crime branch is investigating the role of Republic TV, Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema, News Nation, Mahamovies and Wow music channels in the TRP manipulation case in which the viewership figures were being inflated by the aforementioned channels.
The corrupt practice came to light in October, after an official lodged a complaint with the police and the following month, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch filed a 1,400-page charge sheet in the alleged fake Television Rating Points (TRP) case. They named six channels, including Republic Media Network and News Nation for allegedly paying money to boost TRPs for about two years.