Now, CBI will need Maharashtra government's consent to probe cases
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday withdrew "general consent" given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), meaning that the premier agency will now need the state's permission to take over cases.
Maharashtra became the fourth state to issue such an order, after West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
Evidently, the developments linked to the Sushant Singh Rajput death case and rigged TRP matter drove this decision.
Sena had concerns the TRP case might go to CBI
Sources told IE that Shiv Sena-led government had "apprehensions" that the fraudulent TRP case could be shifted to CBI, considering how Republic TV has been rallying behind the same.
The matter came to light earlier this month when Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh claimed that three channels, including Republic TV, gave money to viewers to keep their channels on for good TRP ratings.
Republic TV went to SC, then Bombay HC
After the allegations, Republic TV, run by journalist Arnab Goswami, approached Supreme Court raising questions on Mumbai Police's probe. The apex court suggested the channel to move Bombay High Court saying, "Your office is at Worli."
At the lower court, the channel's counsel, eminent lawyer Harish Salve, asked for the case to be given to CBI.
These developments triggered the Maharashtra government's latest decision.
In exercise of the powers....: Maharashtra shuts doors for CBI
The order reads, "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 vide Government Order...dated 22nd February 1989."
Unlike NIA, which has nationwide jurisdiction, CBI (governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act), needs permission before beginning a probe.
UP's move on TRP case also raised concerns in Maharashtra
Notably, CBI has already got itself involved in the TRP case after a complaint was filed in Uttar Pradesh by Golden Rabbit Communications.
Subsequently, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's government recommended a CBI probe, and the BJP-run Centre accepted the request within 24 hours. An FIR was also registered.
Apprehending that CBI could hijack the Mumbai case as well, CM Uddhav Thackeray's government levied restrictions.
Earlier, SC handed over SSR case to CBI
To recall, Mumbai Police received ire for the Rajput death case investigation as well. After a concerted effort by the late Bollywood actor's fans, the case was handed over to CBI on SC's orders in August.
The apex court also asked Mumbai Police to aid CBI's probe.
At the time, Republic TV had celebrated the order, calling it a massive setback for Mumbai Police.
If SC intervenes, Maharashtra government's order will become toothless
Though CBI won't be able to seamlessly take over a case, the order will not impact the matters it is already investigating.
"While the CBI will need consent from the state for every case, if the Supreme Court asks the agency to take up a case, the withdrawal will not bar it from taking up the investigation," said a state Home Department official.
The TRP case being probed by CBI won't be affected
"The Maharashtra government cannot stop CBI from investigating the TRP case registered on the recommendation of UP government; it cannot stop CBI from interrogating people. However, now CBI cannot take over the Mumbai Police's FIR in the TRP case," a retired CBI official told HT.