The Uddhav Thackeray government withdrew the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe cases in Maharashtra. This unprecedented move came after the Uttar Pradesh government filed a First Information Report (FIR) on one aspect of Television Rating Point (TRP) case and readily handed over the case to CBI.
This decision will imply that from the following cases, CBI would need permission from the state to carry out any investigation in the state legally. However, Maharashtra is not the first state to strip off CBI of its consent. Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bengal and quite recently, Rajasthan also withdrew general consent for a CBI probe.
This entire fiasco is taking place amidst the TRP scam case which is directed towards three channels, the prominent one being Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV.
Maharashtra government withdraws consent, joins other states for not allowing CBI probe: Key points
- The Maharashtra government had viewed this move as an attempt by the UP government to lay the foundation for the CBI to wade into the ongoing probe by Mumbai police against Republic TV. Leaders of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra had called the CBI registering the case in the TRP scandal as an attempt to “dilute” the case against Republic TV.
- The Mumbai police probe initiated against Republic TV earlier this month has set up a fresh face-off between the Thackeray-led coalition with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party’s Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA. In this case, the Mumbai police had named Republic TV as one of three channels accused of trying to fudge its television ratings. Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami has denied the charges.
- The scam had come to light when the rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) complained that certain channels were rigging TRP numbers to lure advertisers.
- TRPs of a channel or programme is used to measure the popularity of channels by advertising agencies which affect pricing. The points are calculated in India by BARC using a device installed in over 45,000 households across the country called “Bar-O-Meter”.
- The device collects data about a programme or channel watched by members of these households on the basis of which weekly ratings are issued by BARC.
- It was alleged that some families at whose houses metres for collecting data of viewership were installed were being bribed to tune into a particular channel.