SC comes to the rescue of KBC
The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Delhi High Court order for a probe by Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) for a thorough investigation into alleged bungling in the popular TV game show Kaun Banega Crorepati 2 (KBC-2).
A Bench headed by Justice BP Singh granted an ex-parte stay after senior counsel Arun Jaitley mentioned an urgent petition on behalf of the Star India Pvt Ltd challenging the April 27 High Court order.
The High Court had observed that there was "something mysterious" about actors and VVIPs always walking away with hefty prize money unlike ordinary KBC contestants. It had asked the MRTPC to investigate the finances, criteria of making it to the hot seat, element of allurement and fraud.
The apex court issued notice to one Anuj Kumar Bhati on whose petition the HC had passed the order. Bhati had demanded a through probe into how celebrities were winning hefty prizes in the show hosted earlier by Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and now by superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
Alleging that the whole show was "manipulated", Bhati had contended that its managers were selecting desirable persons to contest and win the cash prize and were making crores of rupees by duping the ‘hot seat aspirants’.
The high court had observed that the winning of the actors and VVIPs raised doubts if questions were being manipulated and prizes could be given to the desired persons.
However, Star India Pvt Ltd contended that if the high court order was allowed to stand and become final and binding and would trigger an investigation by the MRTPC, which, it submitted, was "completely unwarranted and uncalled for."
Bhati had said "MTNL and BSNL and even Airtel telephone lines are public property because air waves and landlines are to be regulated by the union of India but the show managers are misusing air waves and landlines for wrongful gain for themselves and wrongful loss to the public with false inducements and false promises of chances to win crores as prize money".
However, Star denied any foul play and manipulation. "KBC-2 is purely a game of skill and not a game of chance; each and every question posed by KBC-2 requires certain ‘thinking’ and ‘exercise of intellect’ to win any sum of money," Star said in its petition.