On Wednesday, the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra has withdrawn the general consent it had extended to the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe cases in the state. The home department of Maharashtra issued a notification to this effect.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946, the Government of Maharashtra hereby withdraws the consent accorded to the members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment, to exercise powers and jurisdiction under the said Act,” read the order published as a gazette notification.
The move comes hours after the CBI filed a case to investigate the rating scam on the basis of a complaint filed in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh. This makes it mandatory for the central agency to get the state government’s permission to conduct investigations in the state.
Earlier, several opposition-ruled states including Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan had withdrawn general consent effectively shutting the gates to the agency.
The decision comes at a time when the Maharashtra government has been at odds with the Centre over a CBI probe into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. The state had strongly resisted handing over the case to the CBI when the Mumbai Police was already looking into it and had filed an accidental death report.
The state government’s decision also comes at a time when the Mumbai Police is investigating allegations that the Arnab Goswami-founded Republic TV and two other television channels manipulated Television Rating Points (TRP) for the benefit of better advertising revenue. The CBI took over a similar case within three days of an FIR being launched with the Uttar Pradesh Police about the rigging of TRPs. There were concerns in Maharashtra that the CBI may take over the Mumbai Police’s investigation too.
Mumbai police, which has accused three channels, including Republic TV, of rigging ratings, is currently investigating the case. Meanwhile, Republic TV has denied any wrongdoing. The channel has accused the Mumbai police of carrying out a vendetta through the rating case. Further, the channel demanded a CBI investigation into the Mumbai Police allegations that it had rigged television ratings for profit.