Former CEO of BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) Partho Dasgupta, who is accused in the alleged Television Ratings Point (TRP) scam, was admitted to the ICU ward of JJ hospital in Mumbai Friday night. The police said he had not taken his diabetes medicine which resulted in a spike in his sugar level. He is stable now, the police added.
Dasgupta was arrested last month in the alleged TRP case following the arrest of BARC’s COO, Romil Ramagarhia, with allegations that the two were part of a coterie at BARC that had manipulated TRPs to show Republic TV as the top channel in television rankings.
On January 4, a Metropolitan magistrate court had rejected Dasgupta’s bail application. Seeking his bail, Dasgupta’s lawyers had submitted that it was not possible that he could have carried out the alleged manipulation, given that there were systems in place including the board of directors and internal committees at BARC. Police, however, opposed the plea stating that he was one of BARC’s top officials and the investigation was ongoing.
The Indian Express Saturday reported that a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police on January 11 in the TRP scam case contains over 200 pages of purported WhatsApp conversations between Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami and Dasgupta, showing their alleged proximity, with Goswami more than once offering to mediate on Dasgupta’s behalf with the political leadership, including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and claiming at one point, “All ministers are with us”.
In one of the chats, which go back to July 2017, ‘Dasgupta’ sends ‘Goswami’ exclusive TRP data. The police has alleged that Goswami paid Dasgupta money so as to show the highest TRPs in the news segment for the two Republic channels. While they claim evidence to prove this, it is not part of the chats attached to the supplementary chargesheet. The BARC calculates TRPs, on the basis of which advertisement rates for TV channels are decided.
In the chats, the former BARC CEO appears to be trying to fend off complaints against the organisation by talking of favours done to the BJP, and Goswami apparently offers to help by mediating with the PMO, ministers and other personalities, including one ‘AS’. Among those named in the chats are former Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Dasgupta’s association with Goswami goes back to the time when both worked at Times Now.