After he was with a sudden blood sugar spike, Partho Dasgupta’s family has made serious allegations against the Mumbai police, accusing them of torturing the former BARC chief into confessing to his involvement in the TRP scam, and bribing prisoners to assault him in jail.
Dasgupta took ill soon after the police made public that purportedly show him colluding with Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami to rig TRPs, which are measured by the rating agency BARC, and lobby Narendra Modi’s top ministers. He was arrested for his alleged role in the on December 24, and is currently lodged in Mumbai’s Taloja Jail.
Speaking to Newslaundry about Dasgupta’s arrest and hospitalisation, his wife, Samrajni Dasgupta, said, “My husband has been made a pawn in this game, he’s collateral damage. Just think about it logically: why would a person with an annual salary of Rs 4 crore tamper TRP for Rs 30 lakh. He was arrested on a false pretext on December 24 while we were coming back from Goa to Mumbai. We were stopped at a toll booth near Katraj in Pune and told that there had been an accident at Mahabaleshwar and that our car matched the one involved in it. They took us to the police station, then told us they had brought us there in connection with the TRP scam.”
Former BARC chief, Partho Dasgupta, with his family.
“They put Partho in a police vehicle which me and my daughter followed to Mumbai. We reached the Crime Branch and I was allowed to meet him for 2-3 minutes. He told me the investigating officer had slapped him and told him he could choose to be a witness or an accused. They gave him 10 minutes to decide and said if he chose to become a witness he would be free to go, but if he didn’t he would be arrested. When he declined to accept their demand, he was arrested. He was repeatedly beaten up and told to make a false statement that he had taken Rs 30 lakh from Arnab Goswami to tamper TRPs to keep his channel in the first position. My husband has multiple health conditions, including ankylosing spondylitis, diabetes, hypertension. They continuously beat him up and he agreed to make a statement out of fear. Then they brought him to our home in Wadala and seized his phone, laptop, and other belongings.”
Speaking about Dasgupta’s hospitalisation, she said, “We were not informed about his health condition and admission to JJ Hospital for almost 15 hours. He was admitted at 1 pm on Friday but I was called by the hospital at 3 am on Saturday. I was told that my husband was critical and I should reach the hospital immediately. He was lying on a bed without even a sheet, shivering. The moment he saw us he got emotional and told us that the police would kill him if he went back to Jail. He was traumatised and spoke incoherently. He told us the police had paid some of his fellow jail inmates to assault him. They also keep torturing him mentally saying that if doesn’t admit to taking money to manipulate TRPs he will be killed.”
After he reached the hospital, Samrajni said, Dasgupta was shifted to the ICU. “We were not allowed to see his medical records. I don’t know what will happen to him.”
Letter from the Assistant Commisioner of Police (C.I.D Crime Branch) to Samrajni Dasgupta's bank.
Samrajni alleged that the police have frozen her bank account as well even though she isn’t an accused in any case. “I’m a school teacher. I have Rs 9 lakh in my salary account. The day my husband was taken into custody I went to withdraw money from the bank to pay bills. I was told my account had been frozen. An assistant police commissioner had sent them a letter claiming the money in my account was suspected to be proceeds of crime. My account holds my savings of Rs 9 lakh. If the so-called illegal payment of Rs 30 lakh had been diverted to my account wouldn’t the amount have been Rs 39 lakh?”
Bank's notice to Samrajni Dasgupta.
“They are just harassing us in every way possible. My husband took a loan from BARC to buy a Mercedes car. Now, we have got a letter from BARC saying he has to pay around Rs 54 lakh all at once within seven days, or else they would take action. They know all our accounts have been seized, and they have still sent us such a letter.”
Newslaundry contacted Milind Bharambe, the joint commissioner of police, Crime Branch, and Sachin Vaze, the investigating officer, for their responses to the allegations levelled by Dasgupta’s wife.
“Already responded in court, please,” Bharambe replied.
Vaze said, “As a policy I don't respond to unidentified and unknown persons claiming to be a reporter.”