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TRP scam: BARC ex-CEO Partho Dasgupta denied bail again

Dasgupta’s lawyers say they would now move the Bombay high court.

MUMBAI: A sessions court in Mumbai has rejected the bail plea of former CEO of BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) Partho Dasgupta, who is currently in judicial custody following arrest due to his alleged involvement in the TRP manipulation racket.

Dasgupta’s lawyers have said that they would now move the Bombay high court.

Dasgupta is accused of misusing his official position and conniving with ARG Outlier Media and Republic TV MD and editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami to manipulate TRP ratings and bring the channel to the number one position.

The supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police has alleged that Dasgupta received kickbacks from Republic TV in return for passing on confidential TRP data.

After his bail plea was rejected by the magistrate court on 4 January, his lawyers had moved the sessions court.

The prosecution opposed the bail plea and cited the WhatsApp chats between Goswami and Dasgupta, in which the former allegedly assured him of influence from sources as high profile as the PMO. Special public prosecutor Shishir Hirey read out several WhatsApp chats between Goswami and Dasgupta to display their "proximity." He said that if granted bail, there was a possibility of Dasgupta misusing his influence and tampering with evidence. 

However, in its bail plea for Dasgupta, the defence cited the health issues of the former BARC head, adding that he had to be hospitalised last week.

During the arguments, the defence also said that the prosecution’s submission that, as a CEO, Dasgupta was running BARC, is incorrect. 

“The highest body of BARC is its board – the applicant (Dasgupta) was not the member of the board – applicant was only an employee who resigned in November 2019. Allegation is all post that,” the defence said. 

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