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How former top management of BARC violated code of conduct

Revelations of gross manipulation of TV ratings data and misuse of funds by the former top management of BARC India have come to the fore following a forensic audit that was done by Acquisory Risk Consulting (ARC). ARC’s findings have opened up a can of worms.

Further to this, leaked Whatsapp chats between former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta and Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami filling up over 500 pages have also added fuel to the fire. The chats purportedly reveal Dasgupta being in cahoots with Goswami.

Meanwhile, ARC’s forensic audit claims that there is proof of the involvement of Manashi Kumar, ex-Head of People Operation at BARC India, in violating the code of conduct. This included being involved in the shift of BARC’s operations from research to business domain as well as transfer of people to different departments within BARC in a move to rig the TRPs. According to ARC, this had resulted in doubts being raised over the veracity of the TV ratings data.

This apart, ARC’s report states that Kumar was reportedly also heading an unauthorised strategy team comprising of three members. Moreover, she had got a salary hike as high as 55%, which was way above the average hike of 10%.

ARC’s forensic audit has also found how certain vendors were favoured, wherein they received confidential information related to commercial quotes by competitors. There were also evidence of due procurement process being overlooked as well as misuse of funds by the former top management of BARC.

In the meantime, BARC India has released its latest Code of Conduct for Reddressing Viewership Malpractices, which became effective from January 11, 2021. As part of this process, the BARC Board has constituted a Disciplinary Council to address concerns related to Viewership Malpractices and recommend penalties. The BARC Disciplinary Council (BDC) will a 6-member body consisting of a Chairperson and five other Members. The Chairperson and the Members will be appointed by Board of Directors of BARC by a majority decision.

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