January 20, 2021 3:05:17 am
A sessions court is set to pass orders on Wednesday on the bail application of Partho Dasgupta, the former CEO of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), who was arrested in the alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) scam case last month.
The arguments on his bail plea concluded on Tuesday with the Mumbai Police objecting to his release.
Referring to the WhatsApp chats annexed to the supplementary chargesheet filed by the police last week, Special Public Prosecutor Shirish Hiray told the court that the conversations between Dasgupta and Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami revealed their “proximity”, with the latter offering to mediate with the political leadership on Dasgupta’s behalf, including the Prime Minister’s Office.
Hiray added that this showed that Dasgupta was an “influential person” and if released on bail while the probe is still ongoing, it could lead to tampering of evidence and witnesses. He also submitted that the chats show “manipulation” of TRP, which amounts to offences, including under sections 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.
Dasgupta’s lawyers submitted that the probe related to him has been completed with a supplementary chargesheet filed against him. They added that his electronic devices, including laptops and phones, have been seized and bank accounts are under freeze.
The court was told that the submission that advertisers were cheated due to the alleged manipulation, presumes that they base their expenses on TRP. The lawyers added that no complaint of cheating was filed by any advertiser, TV channel or broadcaster, to fulfil the requirements of a person being deceived by Dasgupta’s actions. They claimed that Dasgupta was an employee of BARC and a constituted board was its highest body, of which he was not a member.
Further, they said that Dasgupta had fallen unconscious in jail due to a spike in his blood sugar levels last Friday and he was taken to the ICU of JJ hospital on Saturday. Keeping him in custody could lead to life threatening diabetic coma, the lawyers said.
The court went on to reserve its order on the plea.
Another of Dasgupta’s bail plea, filed before the magistrate’s court, was rejected earlier this month.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines