When Rajdeep Sardesai accused Arnab Goswami of faking car attack during Gujarat riots 2002

On Thursday, Republic editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was in the news after he claimed that he had been attacked.

The editor claimed that the attack took place when he and his wife – Republic TV Editor Samyabrata Ray Goswami – were driving back in their Toyota Corolla. Arnab further said that the goons blocked Arnab’s car, checked to see if it was him.

They were reportedly picked up by Arnab Goswami’s security team and are in Mumbai’s police custody. Republic TV claims that they ‘confessed they were sent by Congress party higher-ups to teach Arnab a lesson’.

Interestingly, Goswami has once been accused of faking a car attack by a former colleague. Of course, the two don’t see eye to eye anymore.

In 2017, Rajdeep Sardesai had written: “Wow! My friend Arnab claims his car attacked next to CM Res in Guj riots! Truth:he wasn't covering Ahmedabad riots!!"

He also tweeted: “Fekugiri has its limits, but seeing this, I feel sorry for my profession."

In the contentious video, Arnab Goswami claimed that in 2002, his car was stopped and there were people breaking the windows with trishshuls.

He is quoted saying by India Today, where Rajdeep Sardesai is currently employed: It is 50 metres from the chief minister's house. How it happened, I don't know. We said we are journalists. "No, No, what is your religion? What is your religion?". And, thankfully, let me tell you, there was nobody from the minority community with us. But one of our people; we had our identity cards, press cards. My driver did not have a press card. And I look at... I was sitting in the front [of the car]. I've an obsession of sitting in the front seat; I looked to my right and I can see the look on my driver's face. When people talk about secularism, I've seen hate from up close and I know that group of people could have killed him. He had a tattoo. He put up a "Hey Ram" or something on his... it is not a tattoo, it is just an imprint that you put which stays with you. He showed that and we walked out. But I saw for that moment how scared you.”

The incident was actually described by Sardesai in his book 2014: The Election That Changed India

He states: “The gang wasn't willing to listen. 'Hamein chief minister se matlab nahi, aap log apna identity dikha' (We don't care about the chief minister. Show your identity cards). I showed by official press card and got my cameraperson Narendra to play a clip from the interview with Modi. 'Look,' I shouted, 'look at this interview. Can't you see we are journalists?' After fifteen tense minutes and after watching the tape, they seemed to calm down a bit and we were finally allowed to go. Our trembling driver Siraj was in tears. My own fear at a near-death experience was now replaced by a seething rage. If, just a few kilometres from the chief minister's house, Hindu militant gangs were roaming freely on the night of 2 March, then how could the chief minister claim the situation was under control? We were unnerved and visibly shaken. Images of those crazed faces and their shining weapons haunted me for day afterwards."

Three journalists, Nalin Mehta, Sanjeev Singh and Maya Mirchandani all corroborated Rajdeep Sardesai’s claims and said Arnab wasn’t there.

Cong files FIR against Goswami

After agitated Congress workers filed multiple complaints against Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami, an FIR has been registered against him in a police station in Chhattisgarh's Raipur.

The FIR in the Civil Lines police was filed on the complaint of state Congress chief Mohan Markam under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, relating to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc and deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

In the complaint, Markam said that in his TV programme, the editor has instigated a crime and tried to disrupt communal harmony.

The Congress has also talked to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Mahararashtra minister Balasahab Thorat said. "I condemn the attempts made by Arnab Goswami to communalise the unfortunate incident at Palghar & also the derogatory language used by him against @INCIndia President Sonia ji Gandhi. I have spoken to CM @OfficeofUT & HM @AnilDeshmukhNCP Strict action will be initiated against him," he said, in a tweet.

The Congress has also initiated an online campaign against Goswami on various social media platforms.

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Free Press Journal