TRP scam | Mumbai court rejects bail plea of BARC's ex-CEO

Partho Dasgupta was arrested by the Mumbai crime branch last month for his alleged involvement in the TRP scam

A sessions court in Mumbai on Wednesday rejected the bail application of former CEO of ratings agency BARC, Partho Dasgupta, an accused in the alleged fake Television Ratings Point (TRP) case.

Mr. Dasgupta was arrested by the Mumbai crime branch from Pune district last month.

A magistrate court had earlier rejected his bail plea, observing that he played a vital role in the scam.

Opposing Mr. Dasgupta’s bail application in the sessions court, special public prosecutor Shishir Hiray submitted that although the charge-sheet in the case has been filed, there still are multiple things which need to be investigated.

He argued that Mr. Dasgupta is a key person and holds sizeable control over the entire system, hence his release will amount to tampering with the prosecution witnesses, who work under him.

The special public prosecutor also drew the court’s attention towards the purported WhatsApp chat between Mr. Dasgupta and Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami.

"We have shown to the court the WhatsApp chat regarding the TRPs in which Mr. Dasgupta promised to take down some other channels and put Arnab’s channel on the higher position," he said.

Mr. Dasgupta’s lawyer, on the other hand, told the court that allegations made against him were without any evidence.

However, finding merit in the prosecution’s submissions, sessions court judge M.A. Bhosale rejected Mr. Dasgupta’s bail plea.

Police have alleged that Mr. Dasgupta, in connivance with another senior official from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) and ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd’s owner Arnab Goswami, manipulated the TRPs of Republic TV and Republic Bharat (Hindi).

The police have further claimed that Mr. Goswami paid in lakhs to Dasgupta in return of the manipulation.

Republic TV and other accused have denied any wrongdoing and manipulation of the TRP system.

The alleged scam came to light last year when the BARC filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group, saying certain television channels were rigging the TRP numbers.

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