BARC ex-CEO Sunil Lulla has been accused by CBI on grounds of manipulation of ratings and arbitrary business decisions during his tenure with BARC as per reliable source. The matter is coming up for hearing on 15th December 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.
According to sources Sunil has been accused under Sec 406 (criminal breach of trust), Sec 420 (cheating), Sec 465 (forgery), Sec 468 (forgery and cheating) and Sec 477 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code. He allegedly faces the following charges from the law enforcement agency
1) Sunil 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) Sunil 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 30L to investigation agencies from BARC finances for fabricating evidence and to take action against few ex-employees
Sunil Lulla has also been responsible for the prolonged blackout of news channel ratings, starting October 2020 causing severe financial stress to the News channels and eroding BARC reputation.
It must be noted that Sunil’s tumultuous and controversial tenure at BARC ended in August 2021 following repeated whistle blower complaints against him alleging several financial and other malpractices in the television rating agency.
Sunil Lulla has been single handedly responsible for erosion of trust in BARC and raising questions around data integrity from government and other stakeholders. Sunil Lulla was asked to resign from BARC last year given several governance issues and loss of trust.