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‘Bigger than a normal strike’ against Pakistan, Arnab Goswami said 3 days before Balakot

In a WhatsApp chat dated 23 February 2019, Arnab Goswami texted BARC’s then chief executive Partho Dasgupta saying how the Pulwama attack worked well for his channel’s TRPs.

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New Delhi: Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami was apparently privy to the Modi government’s plan to launch an air strike on Pakistan’s Balakot in retaliation for the Pulwama terror attack, three days before the Indian Air Force bombed the terrorist camp on 26 February 2019. 

This is part of the purported WhatsApp conversations between Goswami and then Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) chief executive Partho Dasgupta, that went viral Friday.

The WhatsApp conversations are part of Mumbai Police’s charge sheet, submitted before a court, in connection with the case of alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points (TRPs) by news channels, including Republic TV and a few others. 

The purported conversations, among other things, revealed that the Narendra Modi government had planned the air strike “in a way” that the people would be “elated”.

In the purported chat, dated 23 February 2019, Goswami informed Dasgupta that “something big will happen”. When the latter asked if it was about “Dawood”, Arnab explained, “No sir Pakistan. Something major will be done this time.”

“It’s good for big man in this season. He will sweep polls then,” replied the then BARC chief, asking whether it will be “a strike” or “something bigger”. 

Goswami then responded, “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 Republic TV editor was apparently citing the information shared by a government functionary, but didn’t disclose whose “words” they were. ThePrint reached Goswami for comment but there was no response.

Also read: Nation wants to know if there is more to Republic TV besides Arnab Goswami

‘This attack we have won like crazy’

Soon after the Pulwama terror attack on 14 February 2019 in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed, Goswami had a chat with Dasgupta and they discussed how the news worked very well for the channel’s TRPs.

On 14 February at 4.19 pm, soon after the attack, Goswami texted Dasgupta how Republic TV was 20 minutes ahead on the biggest terrorist attack of the year in Kashmir as the “only channel with ground presence”. 

An hour later, Dasgupta reverted, “Modi happened yesterday,” to which Goswami said, “Have planned some build-up thing after we spoke. Idea to gain massive spike. So used his speech yesterday and pushed it by a bit.”

Goswami added, “This attack we have won like crazy”. “Doing lots and lots and lots of stuff after we spoke.” 

Goswami on ‘major development’ 

The purported conversations also show Goswami dissuading Dasgupta from visiting Kashmir around March because of a “major development” that was awaited.

The Republic TV Editor told Dasgupta that since the then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was going for the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) conference in Abu Dhabi on 2 March, it will not happen then, but is expected soon after,  so he should plan his travel to the Valley accordingly.  

“Sushma is going to OIC on 2 March. That means nothing till then. Expectation is between then and 15th March. As of now either way I would discourage you from going to Kashmir on those dates. If inevitable, let me know. Will arrange some security,” Goswami purportedly said.

On 27 February 2019, Dasgupta asked Goswami “was yesterday’s air strike the ‘big one’ you spoke about? Or something more coming”? Goswami then replied, “More to come”.

He further added, “Broken: Pak planes have crossed loc. One pak f 16 crashes. One a Indian also.”

Dasgupta then suggested, “You should embed some reporters. Would be a coup. Like CNN. In Iraq.”

In other chats, Goswami told Dasgupta how Republic TV was on top of the J&K story.

In a conversation later in the day, Goswami said, “Big yesterday because my first burst of reporters landing in Srinagar were from Bharat. Last night I had the biggest story first. Today I was called by NSA and asked how I got the news. Everyone in NSA and PMO is hooked to Bharat.”

“Doval met me before taking off for Srinagar. They will push this through,” he added. 

‘Case should be registered against Goswami’

Some security experts said the purported conversations indicated national security had been compromised.

“We do not know yet how much did he (Arnab Goswami) know about this sensitive operation. This is absolutely a compromise of national security. He is close to the ruling establishment and someone within the system must have leaked it. Else, how could he know about such a sensitive operation which only a few people within the government were aware of?” said Jayadeva Ranade, a former Indian intelligence officer and China expert.

“That man is a national security risk. The government should tighten the agencies now and needs a thorough investigation. This is symptomatic of laxity and the weaknesses in the system and needs to be plugged,” he added.

R.K. Yadav, a former RAW officer, said this called for an investigation. “Anyone in the system could have given it to him. This should be seriously investigated,” he said. 

A former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, however, said the WhatsApp chats “do not reveal anything explosive”.

“This is a political slugfest. The chats do not reveal anything about the fact that it was an air operation and that terror camps would be hit. The chats, whatever is out in the public domain, only state that he knew about some sort of a retaliation. But that everyone knew about. PM himself spoke about a befitting response. After all, 40 soldiers were killed and elections were coming, a retaliation was obvious,” the former diplomat said.

Also read: The 6 cases filed against Arnab Goswami & Republic TV in Maharashtra since 2018


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  1. This guy is a cheat, a fixer and a rabid hate-monger. He has been exposed … but I am sure he is shameless enough to carry on as though nothing has happened. He’s part of the same rotten system of which we had a glimpse in the famous Niira Radia – Barkha Dutt episode some years ago. That is the misfortune of India.

  2. Dear Indian Nobel Laureate journalists do you have any Idea How much dent the Disnfo media lab investigations ( Fake web of 800 websites against Pakistan)put on your yellow even dark journalism. Get out of your bubble as the whole world is laughing at you. Now this 007 James bond (Goswami) ruined your so called stupid freedom of speech.

    Get out from the scaring nightmares (so called) from Pakistan and don’t waste your time doing childish acts.


  3. Not only a security risk but this man is a lunatic….and fans antimuslim and antipakistani sentiment. He is a hardcore bjp terrorist….

  4. this was a known fact that this guy is directly with the ruling party… but THE print, how about davinder singh who was caught with transporting terrorists to delhi ahead of tump’s visit? has that been fully investigated? what is the current status of this guy davinder singh, whom did he name in his interrogation? who all are involved in this? Even if facts show that the ruling party is the culprit, no one can do anything, supreme court is theirs, law is theirs, police is theirs, army is theirs…… we’re just helpless people, same like what palestinians are against the jews

  5. there seems to be nothing illegal in these coversation. evel about balakot, he just says something big will happen.
    these are all peanuts compared to radia gate.

  6. I think, you are making a mountain out of molehill. Knowing something generally about a rataliatory operation, even if it were big hardly amounts to a leak of security information. From the material relied on in the artcle, one does know the specifics such as how many aircrafts are used, what is the target and the like.

  7. Ho hum….I read each and every line. He had no information about targets, specifics, nature of the retaliation. Just that govt will ‘strike big’ against Pakistan. The whole country including aunties & uncles & grandmother’s were saying the same thing ki ‘is baar Pakistan ki khair nahin’ (Obviously except NDTV staff member who was saying ‘hows the jaish’). As for the rest of the tid bits not only this arnab whole media needs to introspect as to how u all treat tragedies as TRP exercises. All of You. Anyway, this is nothing. No mileage for any of you.

  8. This report is based on a police charge sheet. This means the establishment is aware of this ‘conversation” for some time. In the normal course an investigation report should be ready. That is the speed of action we expect in matters of National security. “The Nation wants answers”

    Is it a braggart syndrome? TRP ahead of the Nation? Something here for all Channels to learn?

  9. Ha ha, political slugfest? Words are cheap, my friend from “diplomatic community”.

    The chats just reveal what has been crystal clear for a long time. Goswami and Modi govt are in a symbiotic relationship. The govt patronizes him and uses him for social programming of the audience, while he goes laughing all the way to the bank, owning more than 80% of the channel.

    The audience meanwhile sits there dutifully like an idiot in front the republic box.

    Meanwhile appreciate theprint not killing this story fully, in the way it has been killed in most of the mainstream media, and the way theprint itself has killed some stories in the recent past.

  10. Such sham reporting. Everybody in India made similar comments in their WhatsApp chat during that time. Given the news media always has sources in PMO doesn’t mean the PMO discussed with them on when and where they will strike. Print is NDTV 2.0 in making.

  11. Such sham reporting. Everybody in India made similar comments in their WhatsApp chat during that time. Given the news media always has sources in PMO doesn’t mean the PMO discussed with them on when and where they will strike. Print is NDTV 2.0 in making.

  12. Hey wordsmith, you are not that smart as you think you are.
    Your lionization of Shahrukh, of whipping pistol fame is stll alive in readers mind.
    You are purposefully, conveying this false idea that Arnab was privy to Air force plan of Aerial strike on Balakot.
    As has been written and played on You tube by Air force officers, that not more than 3/4 people of Airforce were privy to this information.
    Stop rumor mongering.

  13. This will not have any impact on his followers. They are in it to win the caste war. Nothing else matters to them.

  14. Even I knew that something big was gonna happen on Pakistan front after Pulwama attack…so were my maid , my vegetable vendor , chowkidaar of my society…and believe me none of us know even a small time politican,leave aside somw high profile officials or ministers.

    Seems only journalists ljke you who live on lalaland were sure that no action will be taken against Pakistan

  15. This whole chat thing is ‘Til ka taad’, Journslists have information, it is their job, and they also have connections. Prashant bhushan has made an attempt that will not dent Arnab a bit. None of the information in chat is specific. Even the screenshot can be fabricated in Photoshop or gimp.

  16. Spying for India or Pakistan ?? He belongs to a state where all the anti Indian extremist groups are active !! Suspicion remains !! Should be arrested and put behind bar for anti Indian activities !!

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