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The curious case of ED not revealing BARC’s clean chit to Times Now

ED omitting the letter exonerating Times Now in the matter of videos of meter tampering raises several searching questions. accesses the communication between BARC and Times Now

The Enforcement Directorate’s chargesheet in TRP scam highlighted a show cause notice from BARC to Times Now in November 2017 for alleged tampering with metered households. 

Immediately after the details of the chargesheet were made public on Thursday, Times Now went on record saying that the show cause notice was a routine affair and is a closed matter now.

The chargesheet highlighted the accusations levied on Times Now in the show cause notice, but did not include the content of BARC’s last communication dated December 26, 2017. 

In the letter, which is exclusively accessed by, the ratings agency had closed the case after an investigation.

ED chargesheet claimed to have the following documents submitted by Dharamveer Mahecha, (Retired Lt. Col.), Head-Vigilance and Investigations of BARC India:

1. Show Cause Notice issued to Times Now dt 21.11.2017 First Response from Times Now dt 27.11.2017

2. Second Response from Times Now dt. 29.11.2017

3. Times Now Analysis (raw data) which was shown to Times Now on 28.11.2017

4. BARC response to Times Now, dt 7.12.2017

5. Third Response from Times Now, dt 13.12.2017

The chargesheet says, “On 13.12.2017, Times Network issued their response stating that they were not involved in the panel tampering and requested BARC to treat the matter as closed and to withdraw the show cause notice.”

In the letter accessed by, addressed to BARC’s company secretary Samidha Bhagat, Times Now said, “We have clarified that we neither have any knowledge nor any involvement in any such unscrupulous activity. In fact, this clearly points to the involvement of some malicious party/ entity who is trying to spoil our reputation. In the past, we have been the victim of reduced channel share and thinking that on ground panel tampering by certain players may be the reason for the same, have shared our concerns with your agency where the ratings have shown abnormality/ unprecedented spikes from time to time.”

“We wish to inform you that we have strong reasons to believe that this is nothing but a motivated and malicious act of certain organisations/ broadcasters to tarnish the image of our brand/ channel ’Times Now’.”

Times Now in its letter dated December 13 had told BARC that it was ready to assist the agency financially to engage specialists or to go to the appropriate authorities to investigate this matter in order to end this malice rampantly spreading in the industry which will ultimately dilute the importance of television ratings and BARC. 

“We are ready to stand by with BARC in all such initiatives to fight and deal with this,” the letter said.

“Basis our reply, we trust that BARC will treat this matter as closed by withdrawing the SCN and will also send a line of confirmation to that effect after receipt of this letter,” the letter read.

However, the final letter dated December 26, 2017, which was sent by BARC to Times Now, is missing in the ED chargesheet. 

In its final letter, BARC had said, “Without prejudice to the above, we have taken note of the contents of the letter dated Dec 13, 2017. In view of the explanation provided by you in the captioned interim reply, reply and the letter dated Dec 13, 2017, as well as the clarification provided by your representatives in respect of the abnormal increase in the viewership and raw data of the channel during the course of the meetings conducted Nov 28, 2017, and Dec 6, 2017, we have decided to not initiate any action against you, under the Show Cause Notice."

“However, kindly note that in the event any further abnormal increase is observed in the viewership in the raw data of the Channel, we may proceed to initiate appropriate proceedings in terms of the EULA,” the letter from BARC concluded.

However, BARC did not initiate any proceedings after this.

It is pertinent to note that the alleged vigilance input, which turned out to be a hoax, cost Times Now heavily as its viewership numbers were drastically reduced.

But the ED chargesheet found the reduction in the viewership numbers of Times Now justified on the basis of the same vigilance input.

ED omitting the letter exonerating Times Now in the matter of videos of meter tampering raises several searching questions.

Now that it has been revealed that BARC itself found no merit in allegations against Times Now, how is the heavy reduction in viewership numbers of Times Now justified?

Were the videos, like in several cases in the past, fabricated by the competitor in order to justify the reduction in the numbers?

Was the letter from BARC giving clean chit to Times Now not mentioned in ED chargesheet to justify the reduction in viewership numbers of the channel in order to prove there was no conspiracy in favour of Republic?

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