The Bombay High Court refused to provide any respite to Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chat partner and adjourned the hearing on his bail plea till 9 February. This was after Dasgupta’s lawyers Abad Ponda and Shardul Singh informed the high court that their client was suffering from a spinal problem and needed medical attention. Ponda had earlier represented Goswami in the TRP scam case.
Ponda told the court on Tuesday, “He (Dasgupta) is not dying but it (his health) is precarious and he needs a medical attention.” To which, Special Public Prosecutor Shishir Hire sought more time from the high court saying that he was appointed to the case only on Monday. Hire also informed the court that Dasgupta had filed a similar bail plea in the Supreme Court.
This prompted Dasgupta’s lawyers to immediately clarify before the high court Bench headed by Justice PD Naik that they will withdraw their plea from the Supreme Court.
Dasgupta, a former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), was arrested in the TRP scam case by the Mumbai Police on 24 December last year. Dasgupta’s arrest had come exactly a week after the Mumbai Police arrested the former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of BARC in the same case. The arrest of Romil Ramgarhia had come just days after the Mumbai Police arrested Arnab Goswami’s CEO, Vikas Khanchandani. Khanchandani was later granted bail by a Mumbai court three days after his arrest.
Last month, the Bombay High Court had refused to stop the transfer of Dasgupta from Mumbai’s JJ Hospital to Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail on health grounds. It’s the same jail where Arnab Goswami himself had to spend a week after he was arrested in the abetment to suicide case in November last year.
Dasgupta is accused of manipulating TV ratings in connivance with several Republic TV executives. Goswami himself has been facing the heat after his WhatsApp chat with Dasgupta was allegedly leaked by the Mumbai Police.
In the leaked WhatsApp chat, Goswami had allegedly predicted the Balakot airstrikes three days before the Indian Air Force carried out the military operation deep inside Pakistan. Goswami had also rejoiced over the Pulwama terror attack. Among other revelations, Goswami had revealed how former I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had stopped a probe into a complaint of fraud against Goswami’s Republic TV worth crores of rupees.