“Order will be made in 1 week. Curfew will be imposed two days ahead of order,” reads Goswami’s Whatsapp chat.
New Delhi: Amid the ongoing thorough inquiry into the TRP Scam, the Mumbai Police on Saturday submitted an eye-opening Whatsapp conversation which was exchanged between Republic TV Editor in chief Arnab Goswami, and the former CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), Partha Dasgupta, minutely discussing Pulwama attack, which left over 40 CRPF personnel dead in February 2019, and the Balakot airstrike that India said it carried out in retaliation of the same month.
Besides these two shocking revelations, the duo also discussed the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status a week before its abrogation.
“Order will be made in 1 week. Curfew will be imposed two days ahead of order. It will automatically abrogate Article 370 and 35A,” reads Goswami’s Whatsapp chat.
On August 5, 2019, Government of India stripped JK of its semi-autonomous status, revoked its statehood and split the erstwhile state into two Union Territories – JK and Ladakh.
In another instance in the chat, Goswami acknowledged how the attack in Pulwama helped him and his channel to gain audience “this attack we have won like crazy”, he wrote on February 14, 2019, 5:43 PM.
Goswami was discussing the Balakot Air Strike three days before it happened, which shows that he was already aware of what the Government of India had termed “top secret mission“.
After Balakot, Goswami also consoled Partha Dasgupta saying, ‘More to come’.
“On Pakistan, the Government is very confident of striking in a way that people will be elated”, Goswami almost seems to smirk through text messages, as he and Dasgupta discussed everything at length, ranging from knowing about military attacks and their purposes to handling their own positions at the various media offices.
As one influenced the other to ‘play dirty’, the latter promises to ‘galvanize more support’.
Completely keeping aside professional ethics, Goswami and Dasgupta also discuss politicians, news networks and ways to have each others’ backs.
The chats revealed BARC’s lobbying with high post minister’ in Narendra Modi led Government of India, while Goswami even asks Dasgupta to ‘ moderate the influence’ that the landing page feature has on the TV18 Channel’s ratings.
In a pretty coaxing mood, Goswami thanks Dasgupta for paving the former’s way; otherwise he’d have been ‘languishing in NDTV’.
In the chats of August 2017, the onetime TIMES Group colleagues mutually agreed upon working together ‘raw level’ and meeting Smriti Irani separately, regarding controversial landing page issue, which had then been discussed in the parliament.
The Whatsapp chats, running over 1000 pages, are part of the 3400-page supplementary charge sheet that the Mumbai Police filed earlier this week.
When Dasgupta was arrested in December 2020, the remand notice said, “Dasgupta misused his official post and manipulated TRP of specific news channels broadcast like Republic, Bharat Hindi and Republic TV English”.
The October 2019 messages diligently show that Dasgupta knew about the influence Goswami had over the Narendra Modi’s office and therefore asks Goswami to ‘speak to his contacts’ and get him ‘a Media Advisor kind of position’ with PMO.
Meanwhile, Pakistan in a statement issued on Sunday said that the February 2019 Pulwama attack was a “false flag operation” staged by Bharatiya Janata Party led Government of India (GoI) to malign its neighbour’s image.
Pakistan cited the purported WhatsApp chats of Arnab Goswami, which suggested that he had prior knowledge about the Balakot airstrikes.
“The recent transcripts revelations in India further vindicate our consistent position that RSS-BJP [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party] government stages ‘false flag’ operations; maligns Pakistan with terrorism-related allegations; stokes hyper-nationalism in its bid to win elections,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.
Referring to the BJP government as a “Hindutva regime”, the spokesperson said that the WhatsApp transcripts reveal the “unholy nexus” between the dispensation and its “cronies” in Indian media.
“Such actions by the reckless regime driven by considerations of domestic politics are gravely imperilling regional peace and security,” the statement said.
It stressed that Pakistan will continue to counter India’s falsehoods with truth and act “firmly and responsibly in the face of India’s provocations”.