The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached properties worth Rs 32 crore of three channels namely - Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema and Maha Movie in connection with the Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation scam, Times of India has reported.
The attached assets include bank accounts, land and commercial and residential units owned by the channels in locations like Mumbai, Indore, Delhi and Gurgaon. The ED is expected to file its first chargesheet in the case by next week and may include other channels as well.
The ED alleges that the three channels generated Rs 46 crore in advertisements by inflating their TRPs. Box Cinema and Maha Movie allegedly generated 25 per cent of their viewership in Mumbai via five household with TRP measuring barometers. Fakt Marathi on the other hand gained 12 per cent TRP through this process.
Allegations have also surfaced against English news channel India Today in the TRP manipulation scam.
The Enforcement Directorate in its provisional attachment order states that during the PMLA investigation, Hansa Research's DGM Nitin Deokar claimed that an individual named Vinay paid a panel household owner's son to watch India Today for two hours everyday from November 2019 to May 2020.
The ED order adds that Head of BARC's Vigilance Dharamveer Mahecha had ordered an investigation after BARC's marketing analytics team informed him about the "abnormal viewership growth" of India Today's viewership in Mumbai from mid January 2020 to mid February 2020.
Additionally, the ED order also quotes members of thirty-two households who claimed that they were paid to watch certain channels like India Today, News Nation, Fakt Marathi, Maha Movie and Box Cinema. Some alleged that they were paid Rs 300 to Rs 500 to watch some of these channels.
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