The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) to probe allegations of malpractices by producers of the popular 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' (KBC) game show on Star TV.
A division bench of Justices Vikramajit Sen and J.P. Singh said: "Keeping in view the contentions of the parties, importance and gravity of the allegations and larger interest of the general public, we deem it fit that the matter be referred to and investigated by the MRTPC, particularly its finances, chances of winning, element of allurement, misrepresentation, fraud and other related allegations."
The court directed petitioner Anuj Kumar Bhati and the respondents - producer of KBC, Star TV and the information and broadcasting ministry - to appear before the MRTPC on May 8 for further hearing.
Bhati, in a petition, alleged that Star TV and the producer of KBC have duped the participants of millions of rupees and were indulging in foul play by selecting their own people to win cash at the show.
It said that some show advertisements like "Rs.2 crore is just a telephone call away" were so alluring that entire families were doing nothing but trying to reach the so-called "hot seat" of the show, said the petition.
Citing examples, Advocate A. Guneshwar for the petitioner said India TV news channel on June 26, 2006, Pioneer and Hindustan newspapers subsequently had highlighted the bungling in the media.
Star TV and the producers of the show had allegedly allowed their employees and associates to participate in the show violating their own rules, alleged Bhati.
Fixing prima facie responsibility on the respondents, the judges said: "The Star TV and producer have given some evasive replies to the allegations labelled by India TV and newspapers."