At least six BJP leaders, including a minister, told the Indian Express that the purported WhatsApp chats between Republic's Arnab Goswami and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta have led to uncertainty within the party.
The chats were released by the Mumbai police as part of a supplementary chargesheet filed in the TRP scam. The chats purportedly show Goswami and Dasgupta – erstwhile colleagues at the Times Group – discussing politicians, journalists, news networks, and the TRP system.
One BJP leader told Express: "We don’t know what will come out but as of now, the government and the party will maintain that we have nothing to do with what has been leaked so far."
Some of the revelations from the purported chats have been particularly damaging, including an "incriminating" message about Goswami's supposed knowledge beforehand of the Balakot airstrikes in 2019. This allegation has been raised by the Congress, even though it seems unlikely. In the chats, Goswami also said that "all ministers are with us" and offered to mediate with political leadership, Express reported. BJP leaders told Express that "the chats didn’t reveal anything that wasn’t public knowledge at that time".
A Union minister told the newspaper: "Neither the government nor the party has anything to do with what chats Goswami has with someone. As of now, there is no wrongdoing, nothing to prove that any party leader has something to do with it."
Express noted that "at least two leaders" said the chats were like the "Radia moment" for the BJP. One party leader said: "The content may not be as damaging as Radia tapes, about specific claims of proximity to politicians and corporates. But it is embarrassing when someone flaunts or brags about connections with ministers."
Meanwhile, the Congress party has demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the matter, calling it an issue of national security.