Court sends Republic TV CEO to jail in ratings manipulation case

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Vikas Khanchandani, Republic TV’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) leaves from the Crime Branch office after he was arrested on Sunday in Mumbai, India, December 15, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

MUMBAI (Reuters) – A court on Tuesday sent the chief executive of India‘s fiercely nationalist and popular Republic television network to jail for 14 days, his lawyer said, after his arrest by the police in a case relating to manipulation of television ratings.

Mumbai police alleged that Republic TV tried to artificially inflate its audience ratings by paying people to tune in to the channel and Vikas Khanchandani, the network’s CEO, has refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to court documents seen by Reuters.

Republic TV and its combative founder and main anchor Arnab Goswami are largely seen as sympathetic to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

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In November, a court sent Goswami to jail after the police arrested him for allegedly abetting the suicide of an interior decorator who purportedly left a note saying Republic TV had not paid him for design work on its television studio.

Goswami was later released, and his channel blamed local politicians, angered by its news coverage, for his arrest.

 

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Ed Osmond)

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