In a shocking revelation, it has been found that the Maharashtra government has launched a malicious campaign to target, hound the Republic TV network and its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami. The sting operation has revealed that the MVA government, especially CM Uddhav Thackeray is vehemently against Republic TV and they want to shut it down in the state.
On Sunday (October 18), Republic TV had conducted a sensational sting operation on Congress spokesperson Raghvendra Shukla at the Congress headquarters in Mumbai. Shukla has admitted on camera that the Maharastra government has set up a special task force to intimidate the news channel. “Nobody can stop the shutting down the Republic”, Shukla revealed. He stated that the intelligence agencies in the State have been directed to ‘dig dirt’ on Republic TV network and hound them at any cost.
TRP scam just the beginning of the witch-hunt
Shukla conceded that the alleged TRP scam was the beginning and that the Maharashtra government will eventually try to implicate Republic TV in other cases as well. “Now, the TRP case has come to light. Another case will prop up (against the channel) in a few days”, Shukla confessed. The Congress spokesperson said that the police department will act as per the instructions given by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.
He further added, “The strategy is to lock him (Arnab Goswami) behind bars. Nobody can save his channel from being banned. There is already a team, constituted by Uddhav Ji, for executing the task. The instruction has been made clear – Go after him (Arnab), you don’t have to do any other thing. He should be made accountable for what he speaks. The team is already on its job (to implicate Republic TV). “
Shukla stated, “When an IAS and and IPS officer are already put on the task, you can be certain that the government is doing it.”
#TargetRepublicPlotExposed | Utterly explosive revelations by MVA insider in Republic’s sting; Watch #LIVE and fire in your opposition to this open political plot to shut down Republic, here – https://t.co/jghcajZuXf pic.twitter.com/PX5NNrIbcZ— Republic (@republic) October 19, 2020
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar mastermind of witch-hunt, reveals insider
“What is the strategy for the future?,” the Republic TV reporter asked. “We are waiting for the report. Action will be taken accordingly,” the Congress spokesperson replied. On being prodded further about the report, Shukla conceded that the report will directly come to the Chief Minister.
He emphasised, “A lot of people are involved in this (plan to implicate Republic TV). Congress has a very small role in it. The mastermind of the plan is (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar. He is only running the administration. Without his consent, nothing can be done in the government. He is a senior leader and had a major role in the formation of the coalition government in Maharashtra. If says no case will be registered, then nothing will happen.”
It is Republic TV’s own fault, for antagonising the govt: Congress leader
The Congress spokesperson blamed the journalists of the news channel and the ‘nature’ of the Arnab Goswami for the witch-hunt against Republic TV. “He doesn’t want to understand anything or (give respect) to the CM. If he (Uddhav Thackeray) had become CM, then, he must have had some qualities,” Shukla claimed. He alleged that the behaviour of the reporters of the channel was not ‘appropriate’, unlike other channels. He suggested that the Republic TV network is responsible for inviting the wrath of the Maharashtra government, asserting that they had refused to fall in line by targeting the CM.
#TargetRepublicPlotExposed | The biggest political sting of the decade is #LIVE on-air, as the political conspiracy against Republic completely and totally unravels; Tune in to watch here – https://t.co/jghcajZuXf pic.twitter.com/YOLSA10nRY— Republic (@republic) October 19, 2020
The TRP scam saga: How it all began
On the 8th of October, Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh held a press conference where he categorically stated that Mumbai police have been alerted about a new racket involving false television rating points (TRP). He said that three channels, including Republic TV and two other Marathi channels- Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema have been reportedly involved in distorting the apparatus used by BARC to rate television channels. The commissioner said that arrests have also been made in this regard. He further added that Republic TV’s bank accounts were under scanner and that their officials would be summoned soon.
Interestingly, in the press conference, the Commissioner mentioned Hansa Research and how, to measure TRPs, BARC has installed 2000 barometers in Mumbai to monitor TRPs which is strictly confidential. Parambir Singh further said that the confidential contract was given to a company called Hansa Research which has filed the complaint against some former employees who misused the data on households where the TRP monitoring systems are installed.
It is to be noted here that during the press conference, the police commissioner specifically mentioned that his assertions were based on the Hansa Research complaint that was filed with the police.
Hansa Research exposes hollow claims of Mumbai Police
Republic TV had accessed the 7-page Hansa research Group complaint, on the basis of which an FIR was registered in the TRP scam case. Contrary to the narrative put forth by the Mumbai Police, the complaint categorically mentions India Today on two occasions but does not make any reference to Republic TV or other channels.
The Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd, the company that manages the Bar-o-meters of BARC that measures TV viewership, had filed the complaint against unknown persons and two of its employees, namely, Vishal Bhandari and Dinesh Vishwakarma. They were accused of making payments to households where the devices are installed to watch India Today for at least 2 hours a day.
The report matches with the FIR registered by the Mumbai Police on the complaint of Hansa Research into TRP manipulation.But despite this revelation, Mumbai Police had continued to take action against Republic TV, while taking no action against India Today at all. Republic TV owner and editor Arnab Goswami had said that the channel will file a defamation case against Param Bir Singh for naming the channel in the case. Several officials and reporters of Republic have been questioned by the police on the case. Earlier, Arnab Goswami was hounded by the MVA government over his statements against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the Palghar lynching case.