The Confederation of Ex-Parliamentary Forces Welfare Association on Tuesday wrote letters to the President and the Delhi police commissioner demanding “immediate arrest of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami under the Official Secrets Act for committing treason”.
In his letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, association president Ranbir Singh highlighted that Goswami’s purported WhatsApp chats suggested that he was celebrating the deaths of 40 CRPF personnel in the Pulwama terror attack and also talking about milking the massacre to increase his channel’s viewership ratings.
Arnab Goswami, whose WhatsApp chats with former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) chief executive Partho Dasgupta went viral on Friday with over 1,000 pages long, are a part of Mumbai Police’s charge sheet that was submitted before a court. The case is pertaining to alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRPs) by news channels, including Republic TV. Among other things, the chats purportedly showed Goswami having prior knowledge of major government decisions such as the Balakot air-strikes and the scrapping of Article 370.
Did Arnab Have Advance Knowledge of the Balakot Air Strike?
On 14 February 2019, a terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy near Pulwama led to the deaths of 40 military personnel. In alleged texts to Dasgupta on the day, Goswami first purportedly mentions that his channel was “20 min ahead on the biggest terrorist attack of the year in Kashmir”.
The Indian Air Force conducted a retaliatory strike on a reported terrorist camp in Pakistan at Balakot on 26 February 2019.
On 23 February 2019, three days before this happened, Goswami allegedly told Dasgupta that “something big will happen.” In another conversation on the same day, he allegedly referred to the government’s plans to strike Pakistan “in a way that people will be elated”.
When Dasgupta asked whether he meant something about Dawood, Goswami allegedly replied: “No sir Pakistan. Something major will be done this time.”
On 14 February 2019, hours after the attack, Goswami purportedly texted Dasgupta that it worked well for his channel’s TRPs.
The letter written by Singh pointed out that the purported chats also suggested that Goswami had revealed national security secrets as he had advance information of the Balakot airstrike.
“Goswami who has sown the seeds of poison in the society and tried to destroy the social fabric is celebrating the deaths of our jawans. How has he been getting information related to national security? How did he know that something big was going to happen? In his purported chats that have gone viral he has even mentioned the Prime Minister’s Office.”
“It is our humble request that a probe by CBI/NIA should be ordered against Goswami for celebrating the deaths of our jawans for his channel’s TRP and also disclosing highly sensitive information relating to national security and he be tried for treason,” the letter said.
In its letter to Delhi police commissioner S.N. Srivastava, the association demanded that an FIR be registered against Goswami on charges of treason and also called for his immediate arrest.