FPJ Evening Brief
FPJ Evening Brief

Here are the top 5 news of January 15, 2021:

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

In a rather sensational announcement at the beginning of October, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had named Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema in an alleged TRP scam. 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.

Now, over 500 pages of chat messages purportedly between Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta have gone viral on social media, 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. 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 allegedly 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.

2. Delhi: Rahul Gandhi leads Congress protest in support of agitating farmers

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today led the party's protest in the national capital in support of the agitating farmers and said his party will not relent till the new farm laws are repealed. He was accompanied by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other leaders of the Delhi Congress at the protest outside the Delhi LG's residence as part of the countrywide agitation.

Addressing the gathering, the former Congress chief said the Congress party will not step back till the time the government repeals these three farm laws. "These laws are not to help farmers but to finish them. These laws are aimed at helping corporates like Ambani and Adani instead," he charged and added, "That is why we are standing in favour of the farmers". "The BJP government will have to take these black laws back. Till the time these laws are repealed, Congress party will not relent," he said.

3. 'Case must be investigated by lady assistant commissioner of police': Sharad Pawar on rape accusations against Dhananjay Munde

A day after terming the rape accusations against Maharashtra minister Dhananjay Munde as a serious matter, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has now demanded a probe by Mumbai Police in the matter. A singer named Renu Sharma, who claims to be Munde's sister-in-law, in a letter addressed to police, had claimed that Munde raped her on multiple occasions. However, Munde denied the allegation against him and levelled blackmailing charges against the woman.

Speaking to media about the matter, Sharad Pawar said, "Yesterday when I commented on Munde, I said that the issue was serious but then certain facts were not in the public domain." However, he said that he got to know that there were similar complaints against the same lady by different political party leaders and thus the matter must be investigated by lady assistant commissioner of police. "Let Mumbai Police do their investigation first. Whenever the fact in the investigation comes out, we will think of probable action," Pawar added.

4. Following public protests, Goa govt decides to shift IIT project out of Sattari

Bowing to public pressure, the Goa government today announced that the proposed IIT campus at Shel Melaulim village in Sattari taluka will be shifted to another part of the state. The project has met with severe opposition from locals, who staged a large-scale protest at the village, insisting that they will not part with their land for the campus.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant held a meeting with the sarpanches and Zilla Panchayat members from Sattari taluka at his official residence on Thursday evening in presence of state Health Minister and Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane. Speaking to reporters, the chief minister said the state government has decided to shift the project out of Sattari due to the constant opposition from locals. "We respect the sentiments of people, which is why we have decided to shift the project out of Sattari," he said, adding that the government is yet to decide on an alternative site.

5. Anna Hazare writes to PM Modi, to launch hunger strike on farmers' issues in Delhi by Jan-end

Activist Anna Hazare on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and reiterated his decision to launch "the last hunger strike" of his life on farmers' issues in Delhi by January end. The letter came as farmer unions are agitating on Delhi borders against the Centre's new farm laws.

Speaking to reporters later, Hazare said the new farm laws do not conform to "democratic values" and people's participation is necessary in the drafting of legislations. He will stage a fast in the national capital by month-end, 83-year-old Hazare said in the letter to the PM, without specifying the date.

(With input from agencies)

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