February 2, 2021 6:05:46 pm
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday adjourned to February 9 the hearing of the plea by former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta seeking interim bail or allowing him to shift to a private hospital for treatment.
A single judge bench of Justice Prakash D Naik was hearing the plea by Dasgupta, who is lodged in the Taloja Central Jail of Navi Mumbai following his arrest in the alleged TRP scam case by the crime branch of the Mumbai Police on December 24 last year.
The bench noted in the order that the trial court decision rejecting bail to Dasgupta and the chargesheet of the police in the case was taken on record and posted the matter for further hearing on February 9.
Opposing the adjournment, senior counsel Aabad Ponda, representing Dasgupta, said, “The state government wants my client’s custody to get prolonged and is enjoying his continuous detention. It is creating a lot of prejudice as man is sufferer. He is not dying but has a very precarious health condition and needs medical attention. State government wants him to suffer in jail.”
Ponda submitted that in view of his client’s health, the hearing should not be delayed.
The state government, through Special Public Prosecutor Shishir Hirey, sought time to respond to the plea as he was appointed only on Monday, which the court accepted.
Hirey told the court that a similar bail plea filed by Dasgupta was pending hearing in the Supreme Court. “It is nothing but forum shopping,” he said.
Ponda, however, assured the bench that they would not go ahead with the plea before the Supreme Court.
Dasgupta had moved HC after his bail application was rejected by the sessions court last week. On January 22, when the plea came up for the hearing for the first time, the state government had opposed the plea and submitted that there was no urgent need for Dasgupta to be shifted to a private hospital since J J Hospital had examined his health and declared him to be fit to be discharged. Dasgupta was shifted to Taloja Jail on the same day.
The police had opposed the plea on the ground that the investigation is at a nascent stage. Referring to the chats between Dasgupta and Goswami, the police had claimed their proximity and stated that since he was an “influential” person, releasing him on bail could hamper the probe.
The Taloja jail authorities submitted a report on Dasgupta’s medical condition, dated January 23, stating that his health is stable and that he will be provided necessary treatment at the jail hospital. The jail authorities added that Dasgupta will be shifted to a hospital if required, “provided there is the availability of police escorts.”
On January 25, Dasgupta’s lawyers told the high court that the WhatsApp chats between him and Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami — annexed to the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police in the case — were “political” but had nothing to do with offences like criminal breach of trust and cheating for which he has been arrested.
Dasgupta’s counsels told the court that he is the only accused in the case who continues to be in prison, while others have been granted bail or relief from arrest. They added that the “mastermind” of the case, as per the Mumbai Police, is Goswami.
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