Updated: February 3, 2021 10:12:00 am
Rejecting the bail application of Partho Dasgupta, former CEO of BARC who was arrested in the alleged TRP rigging case, a sessions court in Greater Mumbai said “the case paper in the present crime reflect that the accused is the mastermind” and if he were to be released on bail at this stage, then there is “every possibility” that he may tamper with evidence and prosecution witnesses.
In his January 20 order, made available Tuesday, Additional Sessions Judge M A Bhosale said a thorough probe is required into WhatsApp chats recovered from Dasgupta’s phone.
ASJ Bhosale, noting that it is not a case of “simple manipulation of TRP, said “looking into the facts and circumstances” and the WhatsApp chat exchange “between accused/applicant and the channel owner”, “there is some discussion on television TRP rating and the accused being CEO of BARC is proper person to explain the communication properly to the Investigating Officer”.
Dasgupta’s lawyers had submitted to the sessions court that other persons arrested in the case had been granted bail and he too should be released on bail.
“It is true that 14 accused were released by Ld ACMM on bail but the case paper in the present crime reflect that the accused is the mastermind of the entire crime and he was acting as a capacity of CEO to manipulate the television rating through mechanical device,” ASJ Bhosale said, adding that “in view of material available on record, face to face interrogation of accused is required”.
Following this order, Dasgupta, lodged in Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai, moved the Bombay High Court.
On Tuesday, the High Court adjourned his bail plea hearing to February 9.
Special Public Prosecutor Shishir Hirey told the single-judge bench of Justice Prakash D Naik that he needed time to respond to Dasgupta’s plea.
Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda, representing Dasgupta, opposed the adjournment. “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 the man is the sufferer. He is not dying, but has a very precarious health condition and needs medical attention.” Ponda said.
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