Republic TV Editor Arnab Goswami knew about the Balakot strikes three days before the Indian air force bombed an alleged militant camp inside the Pakistani territory, revealed a Whatsapp chat between Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of India’s Broadcast Audience Research Council (BRAC).
According to Indian media reports, the purported chat is mentioned in a transcript that is part of a 3,400-page supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police in their investigation into the alleged Television Ratings Point scam.
In the conversation on Feb 23, 2019, Goswami said that ‘something big will happen’ and three days later, the IAF planes carried out a strike in Pakistan, bringing the two countries on the brink of a full-fledged war. The conversation also suggested that the strikes were conducted to boost ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) popularity ahead of the national elections.
There are also many instances in the transcripts that show Goswami boasting about his proximity to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. There is another instance where he says that “all the ministers are with us”, reported The Hindu.
In other conversations, Goswami also complained about other news channels getting better ratings than his (Republic TV) and Dasgupta assures him that necessary steps will be taken to “clean the data”, it reported.
Following the release of these Whatsapp conversations, #ArnabGoswamiExposed started trending on Twitter, with Indian users demanding accountability of those involved in the episode.