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Breaking- Bombay High Court Grants Bail To Ex-BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta In TRP Scam Case

Sharmeen Hakim
2 March 2021 5:41 AM GMT
Breaking- Bombay High Court Grants Bail To Ex-BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta In TRP Scam Case
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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Partho Dasgupta, former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council(BARC), Partho Dasgupta, in the case registered by the Mumbai police over the alleged manipulation of Target Rating Points(TRPs) of news channels to give undue favours to Republic TV.'The applicant is permitted to execute provisional cash bail of 2Lakhs for a period of...

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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday  granted  bail to Partho Dasgupta, former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council(BARC), Partho Dasgupta, in the case registered by the Mumbai police over the alleged manipulation of Target Rating Points(TRPs) of news channels to give undue favours to Republic TV.

'The applicant is permitted to execute provisional cash bail of 2Lakhs for a period of 6 weeks',Justice PD Naik said.

Dasgupta was arrested on December 24, 2020 and is currently lodged in Taloja Prison. He was BARC's CEO between June 2013 to November 2019 and is accused of receiving US $12,000 and Rs. 40 lakh cash from Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, for manipulating TRPs for his channel.

He approached the HC after his bail application was rejected by a sessions court, last month. The HC reserved his plea for orders on, February 16.

During the bail hearing Special Public Prosecutor Shishir Hirey relied heavily on a BARC forensic audit report which names several ex-BARC officials including Dasgupta, WhatApp chats allegedly between him and Goswami, and statements of witnesses.

Justice Naik sought to know more about the alleged Pulwama conversation between Goswami and Dasgupta, and if a separate offence had been registered after the revelation of the chat. The prosecutor responded in the negative.

Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda, appearing on behalf Dasgupta, vehemently argued that his client's further detention was not required. He submitted that his client's paid Rs. 10 crore Income Tax over the last three years to demonstrate he did not need to manipulate TRPs for a pittance. He dismissed the WhatsApp chats to be loose talk.

Ponda argued that the alleged offence was triable by a Metropolitan Magistrate Court and every other accused, including BARC COO Romil Ramgharia, were already granted bail. He submitted that according to the audit report, Ramgharia has indulged in actual TRP manipulation whereas he is only accused of turning a blind eye toward it.

Ponda closed his arguments citing a WhatsApp chat, from August 20, 2019, where Dasgupta allegedly tells Goswami, he would always stand by the latter as a friend but would not compromise his values.

"You have too many enemies. But I will be your friend- whichever role I am in, but not compromise my values. Goodnight," the chat read.

The Mumbai Police's Crime Branch registered an FIR in the Television Rating Points Scam in October, last year, on a complaint by Hansa Research Group Private Ltd.

The police have accused 15 persons in the TRP Scam including Dasgupta, former BARC COO Romil Ramgarhia and Republic Media Network CEO Vikas Khanchandani.

The forensic audit report accuses several news channels, including Republic and Aaj Tak of TRP manipulation through ex-BARC's top executives.


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