Leaked WhatsApp chats allegedly of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami show that he was waiting for former Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to die when the BJP leader was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, media reports have claimed.
A 500-page document containing the chat allegedly between Goswami and the then CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Partho Das Gupta has been leaked and doing rounds on social media.
In his conversation with Das Gupta on 10:08 am of August 19, 2019, Goswami says, "Jaitley stretching it", the document purportedly shows.
He allegedly tells Das Gupta that the Prime Minister's Office was in a fix due to Jaitley's health conditions, who was admitted to the AIIMS, Delhi. "PMO doesn't know what to do, PM is leaving for France on Wednesday," Goswami's alleged message to Das Gupta reads.
Death of former Union Minister Arun Jaitley
Jaitley was admitted to the AIIMS, Delhi for a "check-up", as per media reports, after he had complained of uneasiness on August 9. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital under the supervision of a multidisciplinary team of doctors, reports say.
On August 19, 2019, the senior BJP leader was put on life support. After that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, and other senior ministers and BJP leader had visited him in the hospital.
By August 23, the health of the minister had started to deteriorate with fears about his life gripping the nation. Jaitley breathed his last on the following day, August 24, 2019.
As Goswami's chats show Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited France on August 22 and August 23 as part of his three nations tour. During his visit, Prime Minister Modi had attended the G-7 Summit in Biarritz, France on August 25-26.
India offers great opportunities for French companies. There is scope for immense cooperation in skill development, aviation, IT and space. The strides made in India-France defence cooperation are promising. Our nations are also working on maritime as well as cyber security. pic.twitter.com/7HoHSVlA2p— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 22, 2019
Goswami slammed for his insensitive comment
Many social media users came down heavily on the TV anchor for what they called his "insensitive and unempathetic" comment.
"SHOCKING This is how Arnab Goswami reacted when Arun Jaitley was on his death bed. No wonder this person has not even a bit of empathy," Youtuber Dhruv Rathee wrote on Twitter.
"When Arnab Goswami was waiting for Arun Jaitley to die. Literally. He says, "Jaitley stretching it", Gaurav Pandhi, another user wrote.
Columnist Swati Chaturvedi wrote, "Arnab Goswami is a shameful vulture. Arun Jaitley was a close friend of@PMOIndia & this is garbage level".
The alleged leaked chats show that Goswami in connivance with the former BARC CEO manipulated the Television Rating Points (TRP) in his favour and sought help from the BJP government.
Goswami's chats allegedly show that he assured Das Gupta to get help from the PMO with regard to the TRPs. In one of the chat messages doing rounds on social media, the former BARC CEO allegedly said that he had jammed the NBA (News Broadcasters Association), to which Goswami allegedly replied that he might meet the PM regarding the matter.
The chats allegedly show the cut-throat competition in the television industry and rivalry among the news channels.
TRP: A nasty game
Last year, Mumbai Police had busted the fake TRP scam after BARC filed a complaint alleging that certain television channels have been rigging the TRP numbers in order to attract more advertisements.
Mumbai Police had arrested Das Gupta on December 24 last year in connection with the scam and his bail petition was rejected on January 4 this year. Prior to that, Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani was also arrested by the Mumbai Police but he was later granted bail by a court. Republic TV's distribution head Ghanshyam Singh was also arrested in the case.
A total of 15 people have been arrested in the TRP scam so far. Earlier this month, Mumbai Police had informed the Bombay High Court that it had found evidence against Goswami in the TRP scam.
Goswami was, however, detained by Mumbai Police in connection with a suicide case and released on bail.