‘Stinks of conspiracy’: Arnab launches attack on India Today after ED clean chit on TRP scam

Republic TV went into overdrive, pointing fingers at India Today on its primetime show.

ByNL Team
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‘Stinks of conspiracy’: Arnab launches attack on India Today after ED clean chit on TRP scam
Shambavi Thakur
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If you tuned into Republic TV last night for Arnab Goswami’s primetime show, you’d have been treated to “three truths” that viewers must know.

First, there is a “complete and total, abject and a pathetic fabrication of facts against Republic”.

Second, there’s “not a shred of evidence” against the channel.

And third, there is “sensational evidence” that India Today manipulated TRPs.

The context, of course, is that the Enforcement Directorate in its chargesheet last week gave Republic TV and R Bharat a clean chit in its investigation into the “TRP scam”. We first heard about this scam in 2020, when it was unearthed by the Mumbai police. At the time, all fingers were pointed to Republic.

No longer, said Goswami last night, after the ED said its investigation was “at variance” with that of the Mumbai police. Instead, the agency said it had come across leads suggesting that News Nation and India Today had purportedly given cash to households to watch their channels.

All hell broke loose on Republic TV during Goswami’s primetime show. His panel comprised author Ratan Sharda, entrepreneur Rahul Roy, everyone’s favourite major Gaurav Arya, NCP spokesperson Brijmohan Shrivastav, Shiv Sena leader Chandra Shekhar Jha, and three advocates – Swapnil Kothari, Ishkaran Singh Bhandari, and Barnali Basak.

“India Today of Aaj Tak group is being investigated very seriously,” Goswami said. “...India Today was taking such a holier than thou position. Look how karma has come to bite them.”

This “reeks of professional jealousy”, he announced, and “stinks of a conspiracy”.

Advocate Bhandari told Goswami he must seek damages in court. Goswami loved the idea, saying, “I feel duty-bound to take this matter to court at the highest level. Because I have no doubt the Supreme Court will award damages.” This was, he said, a case of “institutional persecution”.

Goswami also claimed that the Mumbai police named Republic in the scam due to a “conspiracy” headed by former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. “The conspiracy is impossible without the active participation of the head of government.”

Perhaps the most intriguing thing Goswami said was towards the end of the show: “This is the only network of this scale in the country which has got no corporate involvement. Which means we don't have any big corporate supporting us, we are independently owned by professionals.”

No big corporates, eh? Is Republic an ad-free platform?

It’s not, but you’re reading this report on one. Newslaundry is powered by subscribers, not by ads from governments and corporates. Now is a good time to subscribe and show your support for independent media.

We’ve also reported on the TRP scam ever since it broke in 2020. This includes a deep dive into a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police on purported WhatsApp conversations between Arnab Goswami and then BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta. Read our series here.

Also read our report on the Mumbai police’s case against Republic and why India Today was mentioned too.

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Who funded Arnab Goswami’s communal tirade over Palghar lynching?
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