Mumbai

TRP scam: HC grants bail to former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta

Partho Dasgupta. File photo  

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to former chief executive officer (CEO) of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Partho Dasgupta, accused in the Television Rating Point (TRP) manipulation case.

 

A Single Bench of Justice P.D. Naik said, “The facts and circumstances show that the material part of investigation is completed. Hence, custodial detention of the said accused is not necessary. If he is released on bail, it will not hamper further investigation. So, there is no propriety in keeping the said accused behind bar till conclusion of trial. The accused cannot be incarcerated in custody for indefinite period particularly in the facts of this case and since the offences are triable by the Magistrate.”

 

Mr. Dasgupta, who was arrested on December 24, 2020, was working as the CEO of BARC from June 2013 to November 2019. It is alleged that he misused his position and manipulated TRP of certain TV channels like Republic TV and Republic Bharat.

 

The charge sheet contains more than 4000 pages that include the statement of witnesses, documents and the purported WhatsApp chats. The court said, “It is pertinent to note that the whats-app chats are already on record. Some of the chats which were allegedly relates to sensitive information were allegedly received by applicant (Mr. Dasgupta). Undisputedly no offence is registered with regards to the alleged sensitive chats.”

Also read: The Hindu Explains | TRP and its loopholes

The court took on record, “The Investigating Agency has so far arrested 15 persons, including the applicant. 14 accused were granted bail. The applicant is the only person who is in the custody.”

 

The sessions court judge, while refusing him bail, had observed that a thorough investigation was necessary in respect of the WhatsApp chats. Although 14 persons were released on bail, the accused was the mastermind of crime and played a vital role in manipulation of TRP. The custody of the applicant was necessary and if at this stage, the accused was released on bail, then there was every possibility that he may tamper with the prosecution witnesses and evidence.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 1:54:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/trp-scam-hc-grants-bail-to-former-barc-ceo-partho-dasgupta/article33969626.ece

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