Arnab Goswami ‘WhatsApp chats’ give TRP scandal new twist


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‘NSA, PMO hooked to Republic’ — Arnab Goswami ‘WhatsApp chats’ give TRP scandal new twist

Purported WhatsApp chats between Arnab Goswami and ex-BARC chief executive, recorded in TRP case charge sheet, refer to former’s ‘friendship’ with Smriti Irani & ‘reach in govt’.

Mumbai: Former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Chief Executive Partho Dasgupta and journalist Arnab Goswami allegedly colluded to give the latter’s news channel, Republic TV, an advantage over rivals, according to purported WhatsApp conversations between the two that went viral Friday.

Among other things, the purported conversations show discussions between the two about lobbying with politicians and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) against certain reform proposals regarding TV ratings.

The WhatsApp conversations are part of Mumbai Police’s investigation into alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRPs) by news channels, including Republic TV and a few others.

According to the title of these documents, they were recorded by Mumbai’s Kandivali police station as part of the panchanama for Dasgupta’s mobile phone on 26 December last year. The chats online purportedly detail conversations between Goswami and “PDG”. The Mumbai Police documents identify the latter as Dasgupta.

Mumbai Police arrested Dasgupta on 24 December last year and has filed a charge sheet and a supplementary charge sheet in the case since then. A Mumbai Police officer who did not wish to be named told ThePrint that the WhatsApp conversations — which run into over a thousand pages — are part of the supplementary charge sheet.

Reached for comment, Mumbai Deputy Commissioner of Police S. Chaitanya said, “The Mumbai Police has no comment on these documents.”
The BARC spokesperson declined to comment as well. “As the matter is a subject of an ongoing investigation by the various law enforcement agencies, we are constrained to respond to your enquiries,” the spokesperson said.

ThePrint reached Goswami for a comment through a text message and also left him a voice mail, but hadn’t received a response by the time of publishing this report. Reached by phone, Dasgupta’s lawyer Shardul Singh Thakur refused comment.

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