Republic TV has issued a legal notice to the Indian Express for its article titled, ‘Arnab Goswami paid me $12,000 and ₹40 lakhs to fix ratings: Partho Dasgupta’.
Republic TV has claimed that the newspaper article alleged Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the channel, of bribing former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta to fix TRPs.
According to Live Law, the notice said, “You [the newspaper] have acted as a judge, jury and executioner in breach of all journalistic ethics”. Republic TV has called the headline misleading, “squarely deliberate and mischievous”.
On January 25th, Indian Express ran a report which stated that Partho Dasgupta had made these claims in a handwritten note to the Mumbai police.
The article also mentioned that Dasgupta’s lawyer Arjun Singh had said that the statement was recorded “under duress” and had “no evidentiary value in the court of law”. However, the notice says that this has not been included in the news report.
According to reports, the notice reads that it is “part of a severely prejudicial campaign engineered and implemented by the Indian Express aimed at attempting to irreparably destroy their (Republic TV’s) reputation as well as the reputation of the Republic Media network.”
The report comes days after Whatsapp chats of Arnab Goswami and former CEO of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) became public, exposing a nexus between the two and how the two discussed ways to rig Republic’s TRP.
The notice also says that since the investigation is still going on and is also pending before the Bombay High Court, such reports would be considered criminal contempt of court. Republic TV has demanded unconditional public apology from The Indian Express.
All this is part of an ongoing investigation into the TRP scam case. Mumbai police filed a 3,600 pages supplementary chargesheet on January 11, which includes a BARC forensic audit report, WhatsAap chats between Partho Dasgupta and Arnab Goswami, and statements of 59 persons, including former council employees and cable operators.
Mumbai police is also probing ARG Outlier Media Pvt Limited which owns Republic TV for suspected financial irregularities in relation to the case.