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Now, CBI to probe 'TRP scam' as agency takes over UP police FIR

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has now entered the fray of probing what has come to be known as the "TRP scam" after it registered an FIR in the matter based on a case initially registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police in Lucknow.

A similar case was uncovered by the Mumbai Police weeks ago where several channels, including Republic TV, were accused of manipulating the Television Rating Points (TRP) system by financially inducing households to switch on certain channels at particular times of the day. This works because the ratings system samples households, where meters are installed to measure the metric.

However, the case registered by the CBI is pertaining to the vague allegations levelled by an official of a Delhi-based advertising agency by the name of Golden Rabbit Communications Private Limited. While the Mumbai Police has made several arrests in their case and proceeded with their probe, the UP police's case was transferred to the CBI by the state government within a day of registering it.

Republic TV, in the aftermath of the Mumbai Police case, has been vigorously demanding a CBI probe into the alleged scam.

According to the FIR based on which the CBI took up the case, one Kamal Sharma, a Regional Director of Golden Rabbit had filed a complaint with the local police in Lucknow. While the complaint does allege manipulation of the ratings and said BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) should also be probed, it did not provide any specific allegation against any specific channel or individual. It alleged a similar modus operandi of households with meters being financially or otherwise induced to watch a particular channel.

Significantly, this is the second time a case being probed by the Mumbai Police has landed with the central probe agency after a separate FIR was registered in a state ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party or its allies. The same had happened when the Sushant Singh Rajpur case was sent to the CBI.

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