ISLAMABAD: Pro-Modi anchor and Republic TV Editor Arnab Goswami knew about the Balakot strikes three days before the Indian air force bombed an alleged militant camp inside the Pakistani territory.
The startling revelation came into the light through a Whatsapp chat between Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of India’s Broadcast Audience Research Council (BRAC).
According to Indian media reports, the purported chat is mentioned in a transcript that is part of a 3,400-page supplementary charge sheet filed by the Mumbai Police in their investigation into the alleged Television Ratings Point scam.
In the conversation on Feb 23, 2019, Goswami said that ‘something big will happen’ and three days later, the IAF planes carried out a strike in Pakistan, bringing the two countries on the brink of a full-fledged war.
The conversation also suggested that the strikes were conducted to boost ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) popularity ahead of the national elections. “Bigger than a normal strike.”
That is Goswami told Partho Dasgupta in a purported WhatsApp chat on February 23, 2019. The chats, alleged advocate Prashant Bhushan on Twitter, “show many conspiracies & unprecedented access to power in this” government.
According to the transcript, on February 23, 2019, Goswami texted Dasgupta saying: “On another note something big will happen”. After a few messages on other matters, Dasgupta asked, “Dawood?”, referring to the notorious gangster who is wanted in several cases.
The conversation continued: Arnab Goswami: “No sir Pakistan. Something major will be done this time.”
Partho Dasgupta: “Good.”
Partho Dasgupta: “It’s good for big man in this season.”
Partho Dasgupta: “He will sweep polls then.”
Partho Dasgupta: “Strike? Or bigger”
Arnab Goswami: “Bigger than a normal strike. And also on the same time something major on Kashmir. On Pakistan the government is confident of striking in a way that people will be elated. Exact words used.”
The chats also reveal instances of Dasgupta asking Goswami to reach out to the government on his behalf.
In one such exchange on April 4, 2019, the former ratings agency chief asks Goswami if he can stall the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s proposal to make BARC’s viewing data public.
Dasgupta asks Goswami for some action from a certain “AS”. In reply, Goswami says he could do what Dasgupta asked for.
The chat also includes a conversation where Dasgupta asks Goswami to get him a job as “media advisor” in the Prime Minister’s Office, while at several instances the Republic TV journalist refers to his proximity to “PMO” and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, The Hindu reported.