More than 50 pages of WhatsApp chats of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and former BARC chief Partho Dasgupta with many scandalous claims are part of the 3,600-page supplementary charge sheet filed by the Mumbai Police in the Republic TV-TRP fixing case. From 2017 to 2019, the former BARC boss is seen colluding with Arnab Goswami to compromise confidential information on viewership data ahead of its official weekly release.
The chats show how Arnab Goswami abused his access to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and several senior leaders, including an “AS”, for his business interests. In the chats, Goswami boasts of his access to the PMO, the NSA and the I&B ministry.
The chat transcripts show how Goswami and Dasgupta are collaborating on a strategy to trip rivals and boost the ratings of Republic TV. This included Dasgupta sharing confidential BARC data with Arnab over WhatsApp and email and seeking help from the PMO in return. Dasgupta claims in these chats that he has helped the government several times in the past.
In the chats, the two make disparaging remarks about the then new I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar. Goswami also makes fun of India TV Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma and NBA, claiming Sharma had no access to the PMO. From a change in I&B ministry portfolio to ousting of Nripendra Misra from PMO, Goswami is seen claiming to have advance knowledge of these developments.
Reference to a powerful AS comes up several times, who seems to have clout. On October 15, 2019, when Goswami tells Dasgupta that he was meeting AS, the then BARC chief asks the Republic boss if he could get him the job of the PMO’s media adviser.
Since Goswami’s interview with Amit Shah was aired later that day, many reports point out that AS could be Home Minister Amit Shah. Earlier on April 4, 2019, Dasgupta asks Goswami: Can you help by telling AS to tell TRAI to pipe down on BARC?
Goswami replies: “I can send a msg.” Then he asks Dasgupta to send three points describing how TRAI’s actions were against “AS” political interests. Goswami claims in the chats that complaints sent to I&B ministry against Republic TV were kept aside and he was briefed by the then I&B minister Rathore about those complaints in advance.
In later chats, Goswami tells Dasgupta that he preferred Smriti Irani because she was a “great friend”.
On July 7, 2017, Dasgupta tells Goswami that there has been a complaint in the I&B Ministry against Republic TV. Goswami replies that he has already been informed by Rathore, who was keeping the complaint aside.