A city civil and sessions court on Thursday granted bail to Shirish Pattanshetty, owner of Fakt Marathi channel, in the Television Rating Point (TRP) manipulation case.
Mr. Pattanshetty (44) was arrested on October 8. He was granted bail by additional sessions judge P.R. Sitre on a bond of ₹50,000 after it was rejected by the Esplanade magistrate court.
An FIR was registered against him under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 120 B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
Mr. Pattanshetty’s lawyer Aniket Nikam said his client had not done any rigging of TRPs nor there was a rise in the TRPs of the channel. “Even the revenues of the channel had not increased during the relevant period. This was a witch-hunt,” the lawyer said.
His bail application said, “The channel is the only free to air channel among all Marathi channels. There is no exponential rise in the TRPs of the channel during the period alleged in the FIR.”
The plea also said, “Mr. Pattanshetty never paid any money to anybody for rigging the TRPs. If the prosecution case was that he paid money for TRPs, then the TRPs of his channel should have increased. However, on the contrary, both the TRPs and the revenues of Fakt Marathi channel had dipped from November 2019 to May 2020.”