Mumbai Police issued WhatsApp chats between Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta in an ongoing investigation into alleged fraud involving television rating points (TRPs) by multiple channels. Have told how they discussed about ways to ‘tamper’ with ratings.
This chat of more than a thousand pages submitted by the Mumbai Police this week along with the supplementary charge sheet filed in this case shows the involvement of both of them in the alleged crime.
WhatsApp messages show Goswami’s proximity to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, as well as how he misused his reach.
While on the one hand there is a conversation between Partho Dasgupta and Arnab at the center of the charge sheet, on the other hand, Mumbai Police has not recorded Arnab’s name with the other accused in the case.
In the charge sheet, Dasgupta is said to be the main accused in this case, who is currently in custody and may be the 15th person to be arrested for this scam.
When Dasgupta was detained in December 2020, the police claimed that he was bribed millions of rupees to manipulate Republic TV’s TRP.
The remand notice stated, ‘Dasgupta misused his official position and manipulated the TRPs of news channels like Republic India and Republic TV.’
It is also learned from these messages that Goswami was also aware of the major decisions taken by the central government. It seems that he was already aware of the removal of Article 370 from Balakot Airstrike and Jammu and Kashmir. This also shows their close ties with the top command of the government.
However, The Ourdailyupdates.com does not independently verify the authenticity of these messages.
Let me tell you that the TRP scam came to light in October last year, when BARC, which released weekly ratings for TV channels, had filed a complaint through Hansa Research Agency against some channels including Republic TV for rigging the TRP. , After which the police started investigating this alleged scam.
Bark and Republic TV employees were also named in the FIR. The Mumbai Police is also investigating the role of other channels like Fakht Marathi, Box Cinema, News Nation, MahaMovie, and Wow Music in the case of alleged tampering of TRPs.
Now according to the WhatsApp chat that surfaced, Goswami and Dasgupta talked about rival channels and expressed disappointment about those channels outperforming the Republic. Meanwhile, Dasgupta assured Goswami, while Goswami continued to resent the then Bark chief.
This conversation began in early 2017 and continued to be held regularly till 10 October 2020, even after Dasgupta stepped down as BARC CEO in October 2019.
During the conversation, many times, both of them also discussed how Republic TV can become the highest TRP channel.
‘Give me a position like Media Advisor’
These messages reveal that Dasgupta was aware of Goswami’s influence on the Prime Minister’s Office and in one instance asked Goswami to talk to his contacts and appoint him as an advisor in the PMO.
On 16 October 2019, Dasgupta said in the message, ‘Can you put me in a post like Media Advisor in PMO.’
The day before, Goswami had mentioned meeting an ‘AS’ but it is not yet clear who this ‘AS’ is? And what is he talking about? ‘AS’ was mentioned many times in the conversation.
These messages received by Mumbai Police are more than three years old, which happened between Dasgupta and Goswami. By reading these messages, it seems that Goswami keeps an eye on other news channels and their performance on daily basis
From the Pulwama terror attack to the removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, all the issues were discussed in these WhatsApp chats.
Soon after the Pulwama attack on 14 February 2019, Goswami messaged Dasgupta to acknowledge how the attack helped his channel collect TRPs.
Goswami reportedly messaged Dasgupta at 5.43 pm saying, “The channel has benefited a lot from this attack.”
Similar talks continued in subsequent weeks, where Goswami, it seems, was already aware of the military attack in Balakot. It was reportedly negotiated only on 23 February, ahead of the airstrike conducted by India on 26 February in Balakot, while it was a secret military mission.
When Goswami said in the conversation that something big is going to happen soon. On this, Dasgupta said if this is Dawood, Goswami said, ‘No Sir Pakistan. This time something will be bigger. Larger than normal strike. At the same time, something big will also happen in Kashmir. The government is confident of attacking Pakistan in such a way that people will die. ‘
A day after the Balakot attack, Dasgupta messaged and told Goswami whether he (Goswami) was talking about this, to which Goswami says, “There is still more to be done.”
However, Dasgupta discussed many topics with Goswami. He remained concerned about his post at BARC and later himself being implicated in a criminal case. At one place Dasgupta expresses concern over the possibility of his passport being confiscated.
This conversation attached in the charge sheet indicates that as soon as the investigation of Mumbai Police started in October last year, the conversation between the two also stopped.
Malayalam channel and RSS funding In another WhatsApp chat, Dasgupta and another accused Ramgarhia discuss Malayalam channel Janam TV.
During this time, Ramgarhia mentioned that the viewership of the channel increased by 100 percent during the controversy over the Supreme Court’s decision to give women entry to the Sabarimala temple in November 2018.
In this chat with Dasgupta, Ramgarhia said that Janam TV in Kerala is doing well in 14 districts of the state and is doing even better in those areas which are near the temple.
Dasgupta said in the chat that apparently the attention of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) must have gone to this, to which Ramgarhia said that the channel is being funded by the RSS.
Apart from this WhatsApp chat, the police have also recorded statements of 59 witnesses including 15 experts. Police say that investigation is still on and another supplementary charge sheet will be filed in the case.