TRP scam: court rejects bail plea of ex-CEO of BARC

Partho Dasgupta has been in judicial custody since December 30

The Esplanade court on Monday rejected the bail plea filed by former CEO and managing director of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Partho Dasgupta in the Television Rating Point (TRP) manipulation case.

He was arrested from Pune on December 24 and was sent to police custody till December 28 and then to judicial custody for 14 days from December 30. Mr. Dasgupta, 55, is currently lodged at the Taloja Central Jail. He filed for bail citing he was not the “whole and sole of BARC and there were several directors and members above him.”

Special public prosecutor Shishir Hiray appeared before the additional chief metropolitan magistrate and opposed his bail. He was relying on an independent forensic audit report that had incriminating material against Mr. Dasgupta. He also said Mr. Dasgupta had violated several rules of BARC.

On October 8, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had said a TRP racket has been busted which involves Republic TV, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi. He had said the channels are manipulating TRPs and are involved in distorting the system used by BARC to rate television channels. A total of 2,000 barometers are installed in Mumbai to monitor TRPs and BARC has given confidential contract for monitoring these barometers.

A FIR has been registered against all accused like chief financial officer S. Sundaram, head of the western region distribution Ghanshyam Singh, editor-in-chief of Republic TV Arnab Goswami, chief executive officer Vikas Khanchandani of ARG Outlier Private Limited. They have been charged with 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 Indian Penal Code.

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