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Discrepancies in the Congress leader’s complaint, conduct of the Mumbai police and the battle-royale between Arnab Goswami and Sonia Gandhi

Strategically speaking, haranguing Arnab Goswami is a move that can only be written off as one that could come from the beautiful mind of Rahul Gandhi.

‘Who the hell do you think you are’, Arnab Goswami had said after he and his wife were attacked by two Congress workers while the journalists were driving back home from their Republic TV studio. Turns out, Sonia Gandhi seems to believe that the law and the law enforcement agencies are meant to be used as pawns in her petty political games. The 12-hour long interrogation of Arnab Goswami in Mumbai laid bare the absolute abuse of power and unbridled scorn that Congress harbours not only for the principles of freedom of the press but also for the institutions of this country, like the police force, that are meant to serve citizens instead of harassing them based on the whims and fancies of political royalty.

Arnab Goswami asked Sonia Gandhi some probing questions after the gruesome Palghar lynching of two sadhus. He asked why Sonia Gandhi was silent and whether the Italian born politician would have maintained such silence if it were Christian padres who were murdered. In the process, he also brought up the Graham Stains murder, a Christian missionary, where the then Sonia Gandhi government, in November 2015, awarded the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice to the wife of Graham Staines. If Sonia Gandhi and her government could award Staines’ wife, why would she not speak up against the lynching of two sadhus in a state where she has compromised her ideological moorings and aligned with the Shiv Sena.

These questions were not misplaced. In fact, after decades of Congress funding and browbeating the media to maintain Omertà on the Congress party’s crimes, these questions being asked on air were a breath of fresh air. What perhaps irked the Congress more, was that Arnab Goswami reminded the people of India that Sonia Gandhi is a born-Italian and for a long time, she was not Indian at all. That her ideological moorings perhaps comes from the fact that she was raised Catholic. Also, Sonia Gandhi’s father, Stefano Maino, was a member of the Fascist party and a loyal supporter of Mussolini.

No matter how vociferously the Congress party tries to deny the involvement of the upper echelons of the Congress power structure in the shameful hounding of Arnab Goswami, there are some facts that have now come to the fore, if we needed more, that makes it impossible to believe that Congress supporters simply got irked because their Queen Bee was being called out with the naked truth.

The discrepancies in the complaint filed against Arnab Goswami by Congress leader in Mumbai

It has now come to the fore that Congress leader Nitin Raut, who filed a complaint against Arnab Goswami might have lied rather blatantly in his complaint. In his initial complaint, Raut had mentioned that he had watched Arnab Goswami’s show on Republic TV (Hindi) while he was at home. Later, it is now revealed, Raut filed a supplementary complaint that changed that stand completely and asserted that he watched Arnab Goswami’s show while he was in his office.

During a press conference, when he was confronted by a Republic TV reporter and asked which statement is true, he mysteriously said: “both statements were true”. He also admitted that the clip was sent to him “by his party office” and it based on this that the complaint was filed.

Further, the FIR filed on the basis of the statement of Congress leader and Maharashtra Minister Nitin Raut indicates he watched the show between 5 to 11 pm. On being asked by a reporter about how he watched the show at 5 pm, 6 pm or even 8 pm, when the show doesn’t air then, he dodged the question. He simply mentioned having watched the clip and makes no mention of having watched the full show.

Congress Minister Nitin Raut’s admission that “​When I say that I watched it earlier, it’s the truth, and later I watched a clip, which is mentioned in the complaint that I filed in the police station.​” implies he lied about the very basis on which the FIR was filed. Clearly, he did not watch the entire 52-minute show anchored by Arnab Goswami, but a 50-second clip handed by his party.

There are certain questions that need to be asked, emerging from the glaring loopholes in the statements made by Nitin Raut.

  1. Did he watch the ‘show’ (full show of 52 minutes) at home or while in his office as clearly, both cannot be true.
  2. How did he manage to watch the show from 5 PM to 11 PM when the show airs only for 52 minutes?
  3. Contrary to the “organic” outpouring of love for Sonia Gandhi, from the details mentioned above, it seems abundantly clear that it was a party directive to take on Arnab Goswami and ensure that he was hounded to the hilt. If that is the case, why is Sonia Gandhi now not speaking up?
  4. Is Freedom Of Expression, which has become a convenient punchline for the Congress party on the whole and Sonia Gandhi, meant only for those media houses that ask her about how she used to cook pasta for her mother-in-law and not journalists like Arnab Goswami?
  5. If he indeed filed the complaint based on a 50-second clip and claimed otherwise in his complaint, will the Mumbai police now take cognisance of how the State’s minister lied in his complaint and misled the police?
  6. Considering the Complaint was filed as a decided strategy by the Congress party, was the unnecessary, unprecedented and prolonged “interrogation” of Arnab Goswami, that lasted for over 12-hours also conducted because the Mumbai police were instructed by the Congress party, which is one of the parties ruling in Maharashtra?
  7. Was Mumbai police directed to not include the name of Congress party, or even that the attackers belonged to Congress party, in the complaint by Arnab Goswami on the express instructions of the ruling party of the state?

The Freudian slip – An admission and a false equivalence

While the Republic TV journalist questioned Raut, the Minister said: “You raise the point of him being questioned for 12 to 12.5 hours, I want to ask you that this country’s former home minister and former finance minister P Chidambaram was made to sit for so many hours, why did that happen?”

This could possibly be a Freudian slip that exposes that this battle-royale that Congress has unleashed on Arnab Goswami is a premeditated, strategic move, however misplaced. If one recalls, Republic had gone hammer and tongs against P Chidambaram who accused of financial fraud and out on bail. Several exposes were aired by Republic TV that exposed the lies, deception and shenanigans of the Congress party, including of Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Robert Vadra and even P Chidambaram. The Freudian slip that made Raut mention Chidambaram only exposes how the Congress party is perhaps trying to extract its pound of flesh from the single-minded haranguing of Goswami.

It is also worthy to note that there is no equivalence between Chidambaram being questioned and Arnab being questioned. Chidambaram was questioned for financial fraud, while in office as the Finance Minister, investigated by the Enforcement Directorate while Arnab was made to undergo questioning for “speaking against” Sonia Gandhi, a charge being prettily dressed up as him trying to “incite violence”. One has to stop and wonder if the Congress actually means that if any journalist dares to question Sonia Gandhi, Congress will unleash violence in India. But that is a purely speculative and perhaps the subject of a different article.

Mumbai Police refuses request for video conferencing amidst Covid-19 spread in Maharashtra

At the very outset, it is important to mention that Maharashtra has the highest number of Coronavirus cases in India with the highest number of deaths. In such a situation, Arnab Goswami had requested the Mumbai Police to question him via video conferencing since he lives with elderly parents and the spread of the pandemic is severe especially in Mumbai.

The Mumbai Police had then asserted that there is no provision for the same and Arnab must make himself available for questioning.

OpIndia has learnt that Arnab Goswami got only 12 hours to make himself available for questioning, that ultimately lasted for over 12 hours. One has to wonder, that while bodies pile up in Maharashtra, people defy lockdown orders and the state is being ravaged by a fast-spreading pandemic, what was the tearing hurry to question a long-standing journalist for his comments that were made on air. It should also be asked what was the need to call Goswami to the police station amidst a pandemic that mandates confinement to the house. Arnab Goswami’s statements were on air and he was not a flight risk, neither was he accused of crimes of a grave nature – what then was the tearing hurry felt by the Mumbai police to question him at the notice of 12 hours?

Any thinking individual would wonder if there was political pressure on the police to ensure that Arnab Goswami is kept away from his show and harassed by being interrogated for over 12 hours simply to show him what the collective might of Congress can do to him if he continued to break the established Omertà in the media.

What about Arnab Goswami is irking Congress led by Sonia Gandhi?

Strategically speaking, haranguing Arnab Goswami is a move that can only be written off as one that could come from the beautiful mind of Rahul Gandhi. When a political party goes after a journalist, that too a party like Congress that has been decimated in elections because the people of the country hardly trust their credentials anymore, the only logical outcome is that the journalist becomes a face of resistance. A face of an honest, upstanding man who is being hounded by the powerful because he dared to question them.

For the grand-old party led by Sonia Gandhi to make such a rookie mistake like hounding a journalist like Arnab Goswami, something must have truly and utterly caught their goat, metaphorically speaking. One wonders how simply mentioning the maternal name of Sonia Gandhi can irk them to a level where they started using not only their goons but also their state machinery to browbeat Goswami.

The truth is that Congress, which has commanded the reigns of the media for a long time, perhaps cannot come to terms with the fact that there exists a media house of Republic’s viewership that it cannot dictate since they have absolutely no hold or locus standi against Arnab Goswami. When the controversy broke out, Congress leaders started demanding that Arnab Goswami be ‘sacked’ only to be thoroughly disappointed to learn that Goswami owns over 80% of his company and the only way he can be fired is if he decides to cower to the mighty Congress. To their utter dismay, they realised that professionally and/or financially, there is nothing much they can do about Goswami. They cannot take away his job. His livelihood. Or tame him by giving him the luxuries several others crave for. The only option left for the Party was to browbeat him and this entire saga seems like a classic case of politicians losing their mind after internalising the Delhi syndrome – ‘Tu janta nahi main kaun hu?’.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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