BARC ex-CEO Partho Dasgupta's condition stable: Mumbai Police tell HC

MUMBAI: The Mumbai police told the Bombay High Court on Monday that the health condition of Broadcast Audience Research Council’s former CEO Partho Dasgupta, arrested in an alleged TRP rigging scam, is stable.

The police’s counsel, Deepak Thakare, told a bench of Justice P D Naik that Dasgupta was being provided all required medical care in the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, where he is lodged as an undertrial.

The HC was hearing a bail plea filed by Dasgupta.

Dasgupta’s counsel Shardul Singh urged the HC to grant him bail, saying though his medical reports stated he was stable, Dasgupta suffered from a medical condition that caused him to lose consciousness often.

Singh also said that all other accused persons in the case were out on bail.

At this, the bench asked who was the main accused person in the case. “Arnab Goswami,” Singh said, referring to Republic TV’s editor-in-chief. Singh also informed the court that a charge sheet had already been filed in the case.

On January 19, a sessions court in Mumbai rejected Dasgupta’s bail plea.

Singh said the court’s detailed order recording reasons for refusing bail to Dasgupta had not been made available to the parties yet.

Justice Naik, therefore, adjourned the hearing on the bail plea to February 2, and asked the advocates in the case to submit a copy of the charge sheet and the lower court order by then.

The high court recorded the police’s statement that Dasgupta had been “provided with medications and he will be given the same medical treatment that he was receiving at the J J Hospital, as and when required”.

The HC also said if there is any medical emergency, then Dasgupta should be sent to the J J Hospital, a government-run medical facility in Mumbai.

Last week, Dasgupta was rushed to the J J Hospital from the Taloja prison after his blood sugar levels went up and he fell unconscious.

He was admitted to the J J Hospital’s ICU, and was discharged on January 22.

Following the discharge, his lawyers moved the HC for an urgent hearing, seeking that Dasgupta be shifted to a private hospital here and that he be granted interim bail for at least two weeks.

Dasgupta was arrested by the Mumbai crime branch on December 24 last year.

The fake Television Rating Points (TRP) scam came to light last year when ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers.

Hansa had been tasked with installing barometers, which record viewership data (which channel has been watched and for how long) at sample households.

The TRP is important as advertising revenue of channels depends on it.