Raising concerns on national security, the National Student Union of India (NSUI), the youth wing of Congress has filed a complaint against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in connection to the leaked WhatsApp chats between him and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta alleging him of treachery against the country.
The complaint has been filed by the national secretary of NSUI, Roshan Lal Bittu in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. The complainant has raised questions about how Arnab Goswami knew about the government’s plan to take action in connection to the Pulwama attack, which is supposed to be a national security secret.
“Goswami was informed by a secret source about the Balakote attack before it was commenced on February 26, 2019. To increase the TRP of his news channel, he has played with the nation and exposed the secrecy of the government,” said the complaint.
Opposition parties including Congress, Trinamool Congress, and Samajwadi Party have also demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe against the whole matter.
The action is followed by the release of purported WhatsApp chats between Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami and ex-BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta during the investigation of the TRP scam. The released WhatsApp chats are part of the whole 3,600 pages supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai police in the TRP manipulation case.
Several arrests were made in connection to the TRP scam in which Republic TV and two Marathi channels Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi were alleged to be involved in manipulating the TRPs illegally.
Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala raised the concerns that these WhatsApp conversations reveal how financial frauds took place and how people occupying high posts were involved and also raises serious questions regarding national security.
“The WhatsApp chats which have come out in the Mumbai police chargesheet in itself raises serious questions about national security. How financial frauds have taken place and in that how those people occupying high posts were involved… how conversations took place regarding buying of even judges… how journalists decided who will get what posts in the council of ministers. All this raises questions on compromise with national security… and the hollowness of those who are in power,” Surjewala said.
Among other Congress leaders, Kapil Sibal also spoke on the issue and said, “One thing is quite clear that the issues of national security may have been compromised. If official secrets may have been revealed to individual A or individual B… then it’s a very serious offence. How we will strike, when we will strike, which day we will strike these are all highly sensitive issues. I think that it’s for agencies now to investigate all this. But it is very unfortunate that the government in tandem with certain sections of the media, which allows itself to be used as a propaganda platform…has hurt basic principles which are the very foundation of good governance.”
Former Home Minister P Chidambaram also commented, “Did a journalist (and his friend) know about the retaliatory strike on Balakot camp three days before the actual strike? If yes, what is the guarantee that their ‘source’ did not share the information with others as well, including spies or informers working for Pakistan? How did a ‘For Your Eyes Only” decision find its way to the government-supporting journalist.”
“The leaked @WhatsApp chats reveal 3 reprehensible things requiring serious inquiry: leaking of military secrets to a TV channel for its commercial purposes; a ‘nationalist’ gloating over the death of 40 jawans as an ‘attack we have won like crazy’,& fraudulent manipulation of TRPs. But if the Govt won’t conduct such an inquiry (& we all expect it won’t, given the evidence of its complicity in the betrayals revealed), who will? Is this one more thing we will have to take a PIL to the Supreme Court for?” tweeted Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.
Former CM of Maharashtra, Prithiviraj Chavan also demanded an investigation and tweeted, “The voluminous transcript of Mr Goswami’s chats released by Mumbai Police is deeply disturbing. Who gave access to such sensitive information from national security to constitutional amendments and political appointments? The Government of India must launch a thorough probe. Also the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence must take this matter with utmost priority.”
Congress MP and former Union Minister Manish Tewari also remarked, “If what sections of the Media is reporting is correct then it points towards a direct linkage between Balakot air strikes and 2019 General elections. Was National Security milked for electoral purposes? Needs a JPC investigation.”
“Since 1967 BARC has stood for Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Thanks to Arnab Goswami another self-styled BARC —Broadcast Audience Research Council is in news now. The first BARC built a strong & scientific India. The other BARC is aiding & abetting weapons of mass disinformation,” tweeted Indian economist and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.