Uddhav Thackeray blocks CBI from probing cases in Maharashtra, withdraws general consent

The Uddhav Thackeray government on Wednesday withdrew the general consent extended by Maharashtra to the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe cases in the state.

The CBI had registered an FIR in the TRP scam case on Tuesday on the basis of a reference from the Uttar Pradesh Police. Republic TV, based in Maharashtra capital Mumbai, is one of the accused channels in the case.

The TRP case, which was earlier registered at Hazratganj police station in Lucknow on a complaint of an advertising company promoter, was handed over to the CBI by the Uttar Pradesh government.

The alleged scam came to light when ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint with the police, alleging that certain channels were rigging TRP numbers to lure advertisers.

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.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh held a press conference and accused Republic TV and three others of manipulating the TRPs.

The Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch on Tuesday arrested two more people for allegedly fudging the TRPs, which took the number of arrests in the case to eight.

TRPs of a channel or programme are used to measure 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.

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