In a latest development in the TRP case, Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy in Lok Sabha said that the Centre has no information about the leak of sensitive information in the purported WhatsApp conversations of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab in the case.
The chats that leaked included several controversial conversations between Goswami and Dasgupta, regarding various news events (and Republic’s coverage of them), including the Pulwama attack and the Balakot air strike in February 2019.
The alleged TRP scam came to light last year after a complaint was filed by an executive of a BARC-affiliated research agency, alleging that the viewership data was being manipulated by some of these channels through contractors associated with the agency.
The Mumbai Police had earlier filed a supplementary chargesheet in the fake TRP scam case that included extensive purported chats, which were also leaked on social media, causing huge uproar.
As soon as the chats were leaked on social media, opposition party Congress had demanded probe into the matter. Finance Minister P Chidambaram and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan had asked to take a look into the matter.
On 14 February 2019, a terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy near Pulwama led to the death of 40 military personnel. In alleged texts to Dasgupta on the day, Goswami first purportedly mentions that his channel was “20 minutes ahead on the biggest terrorist attack of the year in Kashmir”.
Goswami then appeared to go on to say, with regard to his channel’s coverage: "This attack we have won like crazy".
The chats also show Goswami complaining about TRP rankings of his competitors, while Dasgupta complains to him about the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and requests to help him get an advisor post with the Prime Minister’s Office.
Six members of the Parliament, Mohammed Faizal, Adoor Prakash, Subbarayan K, T N Prathapan, Vincent H Pala, and Jasbir Singh Gill posed a question to Reddy on whether the government has taken cognisance of the leak of WhatsApp chats