The Mumbai Police on Tuesday arrested two more former employees of Hansa Research Group in connection with the ‘TRP scam’, taking the total number of arrests to eight.
Republic TV executive editor, its Chief Financial Officer and distribution chief have been summoned for questioning on Wednesday, the police said.
Those arrested on Tuesday are Ramji Verma (44) and Dinesh Vishwakarma (37). Verma was arrested from his residence in Worli while Vishwakarma was nabbed from Mumbai airport.
The police said initially they believed Vishwakarma was hiding in his hometown at Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh and accordingly a team was sent. “But we could not locate him. Later, we learnt that he was coming to Mumbai by flight after which we laid a trap at the airport and caught him,” a police officer said.
The police were after the two after the questioning of two other former Hansa employees, Vishal Bhandari and Umesh Mishra, arrested in the case earlier. “Vishwakarma allegedly provided cash to Bhandari while Verma allegedly gave money to Mishra and had asked them to hand it to the owners of panel homes on behalf of a channel,” the officer said.
According to the police, from 2013 to 2015, Verma was employed as a relationship manager with Hansa Research Group.
The two will be produced in court on Wednesday. The crime branch on Tuesday also recorded the statement of Ebixcash Managing Director Milan Ganatra. “Ebixcash is one of the advertisers of Republic TV and we wanted to understand on what basis did they give ads. Accordingly, he was called and his statement was recorded,” an officer said.
The Mumbai Police said they would continue to investigate the ‘TRP scam’ and said the move of the UP government would not impact their investigation. A senior IPS officer, who is overseeing the investigation in the ‘TRP scam’, said, “As far as I am aware our case is very much with the Mumbai Crime Branch and we will not transfer it until we get any directions from the Supreme Court, High Court or the Maharashtra government.”
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