Controversy erupted recently as the Mumbai police published several hundred pages of chat messages purportedly exchanged between journalist Arnab Goswami and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta. The topics run the gamut from discussion about current news trends to far more problematic remarks that some contend as being evidence of Goswami's prior knowledge of government decisions. The chats are a part of the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police in the ongoing TRP scam case.
Dubbing it 'Chat Gate' the NCP on Monday demanded a probe into the lengthy WhatsApp exchange. Mahesh Tapase, the Chief Spokesperson of the NCP said that party representatives would be meeting Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday. The government and the BJP he said, should "clarify it's position on Arnab Goswami".
"It is extremely shocking and disturbing to know how issues related to National security have been used to gain TRP. The question also arises how Arnab was privy to such sensitive information. MHA has to identify the source and immediately take action," he said in a statement.
Over the last few months, the Republic TV Editor in chief has clashed repeatedly with the Maharashtra administration and the Mumbai Police. This too found a mention in Tapase's remarks as he accused Goswami of "being in the forefront to malign the image of the Mumbai police and also the MVA government".
"He tried to give a communal angle to the Palghar incident. The Sushant Singh Rajput death case was blown out of proportion and a false narrative was set. All this seems to have been done with the sole intention to destabilise the MVA Government of Maharashtra. The Modi Government and the BJP seems to have gone totally silent on Arnab. Home Minister Amit Shah should come forward and laud the investigation of the Mumbai police," he said.
But it is not the NCP alone that has spoken out against Goswami. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress committee Spokesperson, Sachin Sawant took to Twitter stating that he would be calling on Deshmukh in connection with the chat messages. "The gravity reflected in those chats transcends TRP scam. Now It's a question of National security!" he said.
"Tomorrow (Tuesday) 11 am @INCMaharashtra delegation will call on Hon'ble HM Anil Deshmukh ji," he added in a follow-up post.
The leading party in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, the Shiv Sena has also criticised Goswami after the chats were leaked. A scathing editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana led the attack against the BJP and Goswami. The publication questioned the purported sharing of national information and questioned the BJP government's actions.