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Home India BARC ex-CEO Partho Dasgupta mastermind of TRP scam: Mumbai court | India...

BARC ex-CEO Partho Dasgupta mastermind of TRP scam: Mumbai court | India News


MUMBAI: A sessions court in its order rejecting former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta’s bail plea has said that while it was true that 14 accused have been released on bail, the case papers reflect Dasgupta was the mastermind in the TRP manipulation scam, that he was “acting in his capacity of CEO to manipulate television ratings through mechanical device,” and that he was “in contact with a television channel owner.
The sessions court’s reasoned order of January 20, made available now, also said, “It appears from the papers put forth before me that it is not a simple case of TRP manipulation but more than that.”
Special public prosecutor Shishir Hiray had submitted before the sessions court that there was a “voluminous round of chats between applicant (Dasgupta) and channel owner and anchor.” “Some round of serious chat” was found in Dasgupta’s mobile and to “verify” it, the home ministry’s clearance is required, he said.
The prosecutor said Dasgupta had in collusion with a “particular TV channel owner and anchor manipulated TRP for getting money” and added, “In the present crime national interest is involved”. He said Dasgupta flouted guidelines and “was playing with an amount of Rs 32,000 crore.” The order did not name the channel owner and anchor. Chats between Dasgupta and Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami are part of the police chargesheet in the case.
The Bombay high court, which is now hearing Dasgupta’s plea for bail, has posted the matter for hearing on February 9.
Sessions judge M A Bhosale in his order said that before forming any opinion regarding WhatsApp chats, a thorough investigation is necessary and Dasgupta’s face-to-face investigation too so that he can explain “certain code words seen in the chat exchanges he had with the channel owner.” Dasgupta would be the proper person to “explain” what it means, said the court order. The sessions court also accepted the prosecutor’s argument that Dasgupta might tamper with evidence or influence witnesses if granted bail.
On Tuesday, Hiray sought time from Justice P D Naik of HC, saying he had just been assigned the case. He said Dasgupta had earlier gone to the Supreme Court too. “This is nothing but forum shopping,” he said. Appearing for the incarcerated ex-BARC CEO, senior counsel Aabad Ponda with advocate Shardul Singh cited his health and said the hearing may not be delayed. Ponda said, “He is not dying but his health is precarious.” He said Dasgupta, 55, needed medical attention.
This is Dasgupta’s third plea for bail after the two lower court rejections since his arrest last month.



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