The Enforcement Directorate made an announcement that Sachin Waze, a suspended Assistant Police Inspector, was also involved in the TRP (TV Rating Points) scam, had allegedly extorted Rs.30 lakhs as bribe money.
Officials, through an inspector in the Mumbai Crime Branch, alleged that Waze had extorted the bribe money from BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) to not harass its executives.
BARC, with the help of Hansa Group, installs barometers in selected households to measure the viewing patterns and decide ratings. This agreement is said to be terminated on the 30th of July, 2021.
The BARC officials have given a statement regarding Waze’s involvement, accounting books depicted that BARC awarded some money as construction related work and then transferred it to a dummy company.
The dummy company has four more shell companies. On sending the money to the dummy company, the money got transferred to a hawala operator’s Bank account.
Shortly after which, an inspector, who was and associate of Waze, was paid the bribe money. The ED record statements and reports from BARC employees and senior officials have confirmed this.
The ED is yet to question the Crime Branch Inspector and Sachin Waze. Hansa Group had filed a case last year accusing its employees of controlling the TRP by paying money to those households.
The Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh had assigned this case to Waze under whom the Central Intelligence Unit (UIA) worked.E
Thereafter, the ED registered a money laundering case based on the FIR filed by the Mumbai Police.
One of the sources stated that Waze had been calling them in for investigation at his office in Mumbai Police Commissionerate Headquarters, in South Mumbai.
The source also stated that, “Waze used to tell BARC executives to wait outside his office for hours, even late in the evening, and then tell them to come the next day. Waze also created the impression that he beats up suspects during questioning and asked BARC to pay a sum of ₹30 lakhs bribe if they wanted to avoid torture”.
Sources further mentioned that the ED will include the bribe details in the money laundering case and include the evidence gathered. The ED will also soon file its first charge sheet in the TRP laundering case.
ED had also attached properties worth ₹32 crore of Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema ad Maha Movies channels, in a recent case. The case involved generating advertising revenue through manipulating TRP.
Box Movies and Maha Movies had generated about twenty five percent of their TRP in Mumbai with the help of Barometers installed in five houses. Fakt Marathi had generated twelve percent of TRP the same way.
Officials stated that TRP was measured on the basis of the total time spent on a channel, and not according to the number of households.