Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami
File Photo

Towards the end of 2020, the Mumbai Police had begun probing an alleged TRP (Television Rating Point) scam. In a rather sensational announcement at the beginning of October, Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh had named Republic TV and two smaller TV channels - Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema - and said that confidential data was being misused for "wrongful gains by various TV channels".

There have been several twists and turns to the tale in the ensuing months as the investigation continued. The names of other media organisations had cropped up even as Republic TV claimed that it was being maligned. Several people associated with the channel have been arrested, and recently former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta was denied bail. "We have found evidence on record through investigation with Broadcasting Audience Research Council (BARC) against Republic TV and Arnab," the Mumbai Police told the Bombay High Court recently.

And now, it would seem that we finally have some insight on the same as the Mumbai Police released a massive number of WhatsApp messages. Over 500 pages of chat messages purportedly between Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta have now gone viral, with many calling this "damning evidence".

The massive pdf begins with an intimation that this is a case filed with the Kandivali Police, and the transcript bears various signatures on each page. It begins in July 2019 and extends until mid-October the same year. It is not one chat. Going by the page headings, there are chats with Arnab Goswami, Vikas Aidem, the RRP Group, Romil Ramgaria and more in the one volume that FPJ accessed.

The topics run the gamut - from comments on Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti to remarks about how the channel had broken various news topics far ahead of competitors. Other remarks are perhaps more concerning. While Dasgupta dubs Union Minister Prakash Javadekar "useless" in one message, Goswami purportedly says that "all ministers are with us" while discussing the channel's chance of succeeding.

As Mumbai Police probes TRP scandal, WhatsApp chats between Arnab Goswami and ex-BARC CEO leaked

Further details awaited.

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Free Press Journal