Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Hansa Research says it has no business dealings with Republic TV, Mumbai Police’s leak to Economic Times falls flat

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Hansa Research

— Consider reading the article Hansa Research says it has no business dealings with Republic TV, Mumbai Police’s leak to Economic Times falls flat on OpIndia website —

Hansa Research has categorically denied claims made by Mumbai Police which were quoted in a report in The Economic Times where it was alleged that they paid exorbitant sums of money to Republic TV. The Economic Times claimed that it has been informed by sources that a particular one-time payment made by Hansa Research to Republic TV worth Rs. 32 lakhs is under the scanner in the alleged TRP scam.

“Hansa has made a payment of 32 lakh to Republic TV. When the company’s (Hansa) director was questioned on the same, he claimed he wasn’t aware. However, when Republic TV CFO S Sundaram was asked about it, he accepted that the company had received a payment of 32 lakh from Hansa. But he couldn’t recall the details and promised to get back on the same,” a police official with information on the investigation into the alleged TRP scam told ET.

In a press release, Hansa Research has denied all such allegations. It said, “Hansa Research categorically states that it has had no business dealings with Republic TV and no payment has been made to the Channel nor received from the Channel. In a statement reported in the Media, the Crime Branch spokesperson investigating the TRP scam has alleged that Hansa Research has made payment of Rs 32 lakhs to Republic TV which is incorrect.”

Shekar Swamy, Group CEO Hansa stated, “Our Group company Hansa Vision India Pvt Ltd is in the advertising business. It purchases advertising time and space in various TV channels, newspapers, radio, digital platforms and other media regularly for its clients. This is normal, routine business. The last time Hansa Vision has purchased advertising time in Republic TV was two years ago for the period from Sept 2017 to Oct 2018 for a value of Rs 108 lakhs. The Mumbai Police is perhaps incorrectly linking this with the current TRP related investigation.”

Since then, the firm has purchased advertising time from 55 TV channels for the sum of Rs. 13.42 crores on behalf of its clients. In 2019 and 2020, the firm has not bought any advertising time from Republic TV, the press release said.

Shekar Swamy added further, “The Hansa Research CEO and team have been repeatedly called by API Mr Sachin Vaze of the Crime Branch, and asked to stay till late hours. They are cooperating with the investigation and have submitted various documents as asked for. Hansa Research and the people working for this company, have nothing to do with the advertising activities of the group company Hansa Vision.”

According to the ET report, the police official claimed that the transaction was “suspicious” and was being probed. It is pertinent to note here that the chain of events began with Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh accusing Republic TV in the TRP scam even though the Hansa Research report and the FIR filed on the basis of it named India Today. It was after Param Bir Singh went public that the Hansa report surfaced putting the Mumbai Police in a tight spot.

Subsequently, by the 11th of October, Republic TV CEO and CFO were questioned for a total of over 20 hours. The questions largely included how Republic TV managed to acquire the Hansa Report that had implicated India Today and not Republic TV. Essentially, the report that busted holes in the claims made by the Mumbai Police and the Mumbai Police Commissioner. Their journalist Pradeep Bhandari was also summoned and booked in non-bailable offences. He later got anticipatory bail.

On the 16th of October, witnesses suddenly emerged levelling accusations against Republic TV. We have reported on the 23rd of October on a conversation that shows witnesses are being coerced into naming Republic TV in the TRP scam. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar condemned the conduct of the Mumbai Police in an exclusive interview with OpIndia.

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