January 26, 2021 2:03:33 am
Former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta’s lawyers told the Bombay High Court on Monday 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 TRP scam case — were “political” but had nothing to do with offences like criminal breach of trust and cheating for which he had been arrested.
The HC was hearing a bail application filed on behalf of Dasgupta, who is lodged in Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai.
Lawyer Shardul Singh, representing Dasgupta, 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. He added that the “mastermind” of the case as per the Mumbai Police is Goswami.
Chief Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare, appearing for the Mumbai Police, however, said that Dasgupta was the “mastermind” of the case.
Dasgupta had moved HC after his bail application was rejected by the sessions court last week. 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.
Singh on Monday said that Dasgupta had fallen unconscious in jail on January 15 and his family was informed about it 17 hours later.
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 availability of police escorts”.
Justice P D Naik, while hearing the case, said that non-availability of a police escort cannot be an excuse in cases of medical emergencies. To this, Thakare assured the court that the authorities will ensure that Dasgupta is given necessary medical attention.
The court went on to direct Singh to place on record the 5,000-page chargesheet filed by the police against Dasgupta. The case will be heard next on February 2.
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