A few days back, the leaked screenshots of alleged chats between Republic TV Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and former BARC COO Partho Dasgupta stirred a political furore. The opposition political parties, along with Arnab’s nemesis in the media, fell over themselves to cash in on the anti-Arnab sentiment and discredit him and his brand of journalism.
Recently, Times Now anchor Navika Kumar, the former protégé of Arnab Goswami, also entered the fray, weighing in on her views on the current predicament of the Republic TV Editor-in-chief. During her show on the leaked conversations, Navika spoke about her one-time mentor Arnab Goswami. In about a 9 minute long monologue, she talked about how she filled in the chair vacated by Goswami after he left Times Now and started Republic.
She then talked about ethics and sanskar and how those who talk about them are mocked. Navika further talked about the twelve years she worked with Goswami. Comparing Goswami’s exit from Times Now to Republic’s launch to that of a small bird which developed wings to fly away in sky, a visibly emotional Navika said that after Arnab left, the most difficult thing for her was to fill in his shoes.
While Kumar held forth on the morals and ethics in her monologue on Times Now, it is worth revisiting the alleged conversation Navika had with the lobbyist Niira Radia. When the Niira Radia tapes were outed, Navika had emerged out of it somewhat unscathed since there were more prominent personalities whose role in brokering ministries in the Congress government had taken the centre-stage.
However, Navika’s alleged role in Radia tapes came under spotlight after the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in 2015 posted a snarky tweet questioning the credibility of the Times Now journalist. Swaraj’s critical tweet against Navika led to the resurfacing of tapes in which the Times Now journalist could be heard speaking to lobbyist Niira Radia.
Navika Kumar’s alleged telephonic conversation with lobbyist Niira Radia on an imminent revolt within the BJP
In a telephonic conversation dated 10 June 2009 allegedly between Niira Radia and Navika Kumar, the latter could be heard prising out information from the lobbyist about a possible revolt brewing within the BJP. Initially in the tape, Radia appears a little sceptical in sharing the information she has with Navika on a suspicion that she would share it with the BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley, who was a close friend of the Times Now journalist. Radia then says something big is going to happen in the BJP meet which she could tell her only at 5 PM.
After Navika assures Radia that she would not seek out information from the BJP leaders, the lobbyist mentions that a revolt against the higher leadership, including Rajnath Singh, LK Advani, Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi and others is going to take place in the BJP meet. Radia further adds that the rebellion would be led by none other than Jaswant Singh.
“BJP needs a shake-up. Between Rajnath Singh and his own group, between LK Gandhi and his group, Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi, Sudheendra Kulkarni and others have destroyed the party,” Niira is heard saying in her conversation with Navika.
To this Navika responds, “They need a thrashing…that should be interesting…at least BJP would hit the headlines, although for the wrong reasons, as they used to.”
Throughout the conversation, Niira could be heard beseeching Navika to not seek out information from the BJP leaders or trumpet about the coup before 5 PM. “Please don’t talk about this before 5 PM. Let him enter the meeting and circulate the letter. Once I receive the letter, I will forward it to you. You will anyway get the letter from your friends in the party,” Radia said.
Towards the end, the conversation drifts to friendly banter, with Navika commenting on how Radia, despite having the wherewithal to go on holidays to exotic locations such as London and other European countries, is stuck with the work in the country. Later, the duo decide to meet at lunch sometime in that week.
Niira Radia said Navika was going overboard with regard to Maran and Sunil Mittal: Report
Navika finds mention in another conversation between Niira and Ranjan Bhattacharya as well when the two are discussing who would preside over the Telecom Ministry. Niira informs Bhattacharya that Raja is most likely going to get the Cabinet Ministry for Telecom, adding that Navika was allegedly working at the behest of Virat Bhatia for Maran, who, too, was coveting the Telecom portfolio. Virat was an AT&T man, who used to be a point-man for Maran in Delhi.