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First arrests in BARC’s panel tampering case

BARC India had registered a complaint with the Cyber Crime Police against alleged attempts to tweak viewership numbers of a certain channel

Acting on a complaint filed by the Broadcast Research Council of India (BARC India), the Cyber Crime Police in Bengaluru has arrested five people allegedly for trying to tamper with the television viewership data generated and reported by BARC every week.

This is the first time that the Cyber Crime Police have taken action against anyone for this reason. The five arrested include a TV serial producer Raju and four others – Suresh, Jemsy, Subhash and Madhu.

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The five men allegedly approached the people in whose houses the BARC’s bar-o-meters are installed and asked them to watch a particular show at a particular time in lieu of incentives.

One of the arrested persons, Raju allegedly used to approach the producers and offer them to increase the viewership numbers of their serials against a good amount of money.

The Bengaluru police told The New Indian Express, “An FIR was registered in this regard and during the course of investigation, it was found that a group of people were involved in illegally hiking the TRP by using multiple televisions and also by paying a small sum to those people in whose houses the TRP meter would be installed, and asking them to watch a particular channel at a particular time. On getting credible information, police arrested the five accused. Investigations revealed that Raju and his team were working for it. Also, this year, BARC had given a contract to a new firm to install the TRP meters. The role of staff in that firm is also being investigated.”

The five arrested are currently in judicial custody.

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