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

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday adjourned till February 9 the hearing on the bail plea of former BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) CEO Partho Dasgupta, who is an accused in the alleged fake Television Rating Point (TRP) scam.

Dasgupta, who was arrested by the crime branch of the Mumbai Police on December 24 last year, sought bail on parity arguing that all other accused persons in the case were out on bail.

On Tuesday, Dasgupta’s counsels Abad Ponda and Shardul Singh told the HC that the former BARC CEO suffered from a spinal problem and needed a medical attention.

“He (Dasgupta) is not dying but it (health) is precarious and he needs a medical attention,” Ponda said.

Special Public Prosecutor Shishir Hire asked the HC to grant some time since he was appointed to the case only on Monday.

He told the high court that a similar bail plea filed by Dasgupta was pending hearing in the Supreme Court.

Dasgupta’s counsels, however, assured a bench presided over by Justice PD Naik that they will not go ahead with the plea in the apex court.

Justice Naik took the statement on record and adjourned the hearing till February 9.

Dasgupta had sought bail on parity arguing that all other accused persons in the TRP case are out on bail.

He had told the HC last week that Republic TV editor- in-chief Arnab Goswami was the prime accused in this scam.

Dasgupta is accused of misusing his official position and conniving with ARG Outlier Media, the company that runs all Republic TV channels, and with Goswami to manipulate TRPs.

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

At that time, sessions court judge MA Bhosale recorded in his order that though other accused persons were out on bail, Dasgupta’s custodial interrogation was required since as per the case papers, he seemed to be the “mastermind” of the case.

Judge Bhosale had stated that Dasgupta’s custody was required as the police would need him to explain his WhatsApp chats with others accused, or those named in the chargesheet in the case.

“From the case paper it is reflected that he (Dasgupta) is the mastermind of the entire crime,” the sessions judge had said in his order.

“He (Dasgupta) is acting in capacity of CEO to manipulate television ratings through mechanical device and it is disclosed that he was in contact with a television channel owner,” he said.

The judge, however, said that before drawing any conclusions, a thorough probe into the case, and a “face to face” interrogation of Dasgupta was required, and therefore, he could not be let out on bail.

Last month, Dasgupta had been rushed to the state-run JJ hospital in Mumbai from the Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai, after his blood sugar levels went up and he fell unconscious.

He was discharged from the hospital ICU on the evening of January 22.

Following his discharge, Dasgupta’s lawyers had moved the HC seeking an urgent hearing on his bail plea.