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Times Now scam: ED says ‘irregularities’ need to be investigated

The Enforcement Directorate discovered some homes registered to gauge TV viewing ratings have made payments to India Today and News Nation as part of its continuing probe into the suspected TRP fraud. Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV, which the Mumbai police had charged with manipulating TRPs, had previously received a clean bill of health from the central body.

In a chargesheet submitted this week, the ED further highlighted that a BARC inquiry in July 2017 had shown that Times Now had also approached several families.Another examination into the ‘alleged impact’ was conducted in November 2017, and the results of the data analysis revealed an unexpected increase in Times Now viewers.

The chargesheet adds that it is still a fact that there are videos of some homes engaging in Times Now-related wrongdoing. This incident also resulted in the ED issuing a show cause to Times Now, saying that ‘this implies various anomalies with respect to Times Now, which need to be adequately probed’.

According to a statement made to the ED by Niten Deokar, deputy general manager of Hansa Research Group, the organisation hired by BARC to measure TRPs, they visited Ved Bhandari’s empanelled home for a routine audit and discovered a different bar-o-meter from the one set up for TRP measurement.

When they enquired about it with Ved, he revealed that Hansa employed Vishal as a relationship manager. Vishal ‘confessed’ that he was asked by a man named Vinay to get five houses in Mumbai to watch India Today every day for two hours, for which he was given Rs 5,000 as ‘commission’ and Rs 200 to each household. He claimed to have carried out this between November 2019 and May 2020. Newslaundry has contacted India Today and Times Now for comment.


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