A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court has issued summons to former CEO of BARC India, Sunil Lulla, under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery and cheating) and 477A (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code.
CBI is investigating the TRP scam case following a complaint forwarded by Yogi Adityanath government. The agency took over a case of fake TRPs being probed by the Uttar Pradesh Police on October 20, 2020.
In a separate case filed on November 24 and registered on November 30, Lulla has been asked to appear before the Chief Judicial Magistrate of the CBI court on December 15, 2022.
The information regarding the case consisting a screenshot of e-courts listing was sent to media by the same whistleblower, who has been writing against the alleged corrupt practices during Lulla’s tenure as CEO.
Lulla has been accused by CBI on grounds of manipulation of ratings and arbitrary business decisions during his tenure with BARC, the whistleblower wrote.
“The matter is coming up for hearing on December 15, 2022, in the CBI court to take cognizance of the offence and arrest the accused. This report bears significance after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chargesheet which also raised governance issues at BARC during his tenure,” the email from whistleblower added.
According to the whistleblower, Lulla allegedly faces the following charges from the law enforcement agency:
1) Lulla had deliberately reduced the ratings of a leading news channel as a “business decision” contrary to the actual ratings arrived by the internal ratings team.
2) Lulla has also been charged with providing certain additional products for free to a renowned GEC channel, thereby causing revenue loss and showing favoritism to a particular network.
3) Fabrication of the forensics report to create wrong charges against ex-employees. This point was revalidated even by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) chargesheet wherein they had rebutted each issue in the fabricated report.
4) Bribing Rs 30 lakh to investigation agencies from BARC finances for fabricating evidence and to take action against few ex-employees.
The whistleblower added that Lulla’s tumultuous and controversial tenure at BARC ended in August 2021 following repeated whistleblower complaints against him alleging several financial and other malpractices in the television rating agency.