Home English News ‘Ex-CEO of BARC can use influence if he’s granted bail’ | India...

‘Ex-CEO of BARC can use influence if he’s granted bail’ | India News


MUMBAI: During arguments on former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta’s bail plea before a sessions court on Tuesday, the defence submitted that so far, no possible person who could be deceived by the alleged TRP manipulation — advertisers, channels or broadcasters — had filed a complaint of cheating or criminal breach of trust.
Dasgupta’s lawyers pointed to the prosecution’s arguments that TRPs were allegedly manipulated to get more revenue from advertisements, which is a Rs 32,000 crore industry. “This argument presumes, without any evidence, that advertisers base their advertisement expenses on TRP. Even going by that assumption, advertisers are not naive persons – they are fully aware that TRP is based on only 44,000 barometers, that is, sample data of 0.0003% of the total Indian population,” defence advocate Shardul Singh, who appeared along with Arjun Singh Thakur, said.
Dasgupta is accused of misusing his official position and conniving with ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd and Arnab Goswami to manipulate TRPs and bring Republic TV to the No. 1 position. The supplementary chargesheet states that Dasgupta received a huge kickback from Republic TV from which he brought jewellery and other valuables. He was arrested in the TRP manipulation case on December 24.
The prosecution opposed the bail plea and cited the WhatsApp chats between Goswami and Dasgupta, in which the former assured him of help from the government. The prosecution said this showed their proximity. It said there was a possibility of Dasgupta using his influence if granted bail.
The court is likely to pronounce its order on the bail plea on Wednesday. After his bail plea was rejected by the magistrate court on January 4, his lawyers moved the sessions court.
Dasgupta’s defence lawyers cited his health issues and admission to JJ Hospital’s ICU last week. They said the doctors had indicated to the family that Dasgupta had developed “diabetic ketoacidosis,” which is known to cause life-threatening diabetic coma. The defence said that keeping him in jail might lead to recurrence.
During arguments, the defence also said the prosecution’s submission that as CEO, Dasgupta was running BARC was incorrect. “The highest body of BARC is its board – the applicant (Dasgupta) was not the member of the board – applicant was only an employee who resigned in November 2019. Allegation is all post that,” the defence said. The defence also said the jewellery, watches, etc. cited by the prosecution are legally and officially accounted for.
The defence also said that while the prosecution had effectively said that Dasgupta had breached guidelines issued by TRAI, they did not have statutory force. “They (guidelines) are not act or rules made by the Parliament or state legislature. Therefore, no question of any crime guidelines or no question of legislative wisdom,” the defence said. It said Dasgupta was not a flight risk and had no influence in BARC.



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