The CBI has filed a chargesheet against former BARC CEO Sunil Lulla in a ratings manipulation case, according to news agency .
Lulla has been accused of manipulating viewership ratings of channels during his tenure as the head of Broadcast Audience Research Council. According to sources cited by the news agency, the CBI found no evidence of any alleged manipulation of ratings by channels at the customer-level.
The special CBI court in Lucknow has issued summons to Lulla and will on December 15 hear the case, which has been filed IPC sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery and cheating) and 477 (destruction of evidence). The case emanates from a complaint filed by an advertising firm promoter at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow. It was later handed over to the CBI in 2020.
The Yogi Adityanath government had recommended a CBI case amid demands for the same by Republic TV, which was among three channels probed by the Mumbai police for alleged manipulation of ratings.
The former BARC chief, meanwhile, has denied all the charges. In a statement, his spokesperson said that he has been a “high integrity professional” in his entire career and has an “unblemished track record”. The statement added that his conduct has been as per BARC policies.
Earlier, in a chargesheet filed in September in the alleged TRP scam, the Enforcement Directorate a clean chit to Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV, which the Mumbai police had accused of rigging TRPs. It found certain households enrolled to measure TV viewership ratings had been paid to watch India Today and News Nation.
It also noted that an investigation by BARC in July 2017 had confirmed that some households were approached by Times Now as well.