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Partho Dasgupta played ‘vital role’ in TRP scam, says Mumbai court

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NEW DELHI: A Mumbai court has observed that former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta played a ‘vital role’ in the alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation scam.

The observation was stated in a court order that was passed on 4 January while rejecting his bail plea. The copy of the order was made available today. Chief metropolitan magistrate Sudhir Bhajipale on Monday had rejected Dasgupta’s bail plea. He was arrested by the Mumbai police last month.

In his order, the magistrate said the material available on record shows involvement of the accused in the alleged crime. "The present applicant (Dasgupta) played the vital role in the commission of offence," he noted.

The material collected by the investigating officer shows that Dasgupta manipulated TRP for particular channels by using his office as the CEO of BARC, the court observed.

The order further said that the accused is the "most influential person who worked as CEO and the other persons or accused are yet to be interrogated.”

"In such circumstances, it is the requirement of further investigation (which is still underway) to keep the present accused away from the wanted accused and other material witnesses," it added.

The court was of the view that Dasgupta's release will hamper further investigation, which is still in progress.

One of the grounds cited by Dasgupta for seeking release on bail was parity with the other accused, including BARC's former chief operating officer Romil Ramgarhia.

The court, however, noted that no doubt the other accused are released on bail, but they have played a different role than Dasgupta in commission of the offence.

"Considering the said fact, the principle of parity is not applicable in case of the present applicant," it said.

Dasgupta filed his bail plea on 30 December 2020, after the court remanded him in judicial custody.

In his application, Dasgupta claimed he was only an employee of BARC and not a "whole and sole (authority)", and that there exists a board of directors and a disciplinary committee above him in the council.

However, Mumbai police argued that Dasgupta, in connivance with another senior official from BARC and ARG Outlier Media owner Arnab Goswami, manipulated the TRPs of Republic TV and Republic Bharat (Hindi).

The police had claimed that Goswami paid in lakhs to Dasgupta in return for the manipulation.

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