Republic TV Launches With A Political Storm

May 06, 2017 17:24
Republic TV Launches With A Political Storm

Popular Journalist, Arnab Goswami made a comeback to the Television with his own news channel “Republic”.

The opening item on the fresh channel has sparked a big storm among political circles. Prior to the channel’s launch, billboards had sprung up across cities with larger-than-life portraits of Arnab Goswami announcing the imminent launch of his new media venture. Then, there were short “see you soon” postcard videos of Goswami’s targets - from Rahul Gandhi to Arvind Kejriwal - put on social media.

The tagline went “the nation STILL wants to know”.

Arnab Goswami’s first episode “Super Exclusive” was an expose that included an audio recording of an alleged conversation between former Bihar CM, senior political leader RJD Lalu Prasad Yadav and criminal-turned-politician Mohammed Shahabuddin, from Siwan.

The channel aired an audio clip that it claimed was a conversation that took place between the two when the former Siwan MP was in jail. In one of the audio tapes, the mafia don from jail is ordering Lalu to sack a Superintendent of Police for hindering his men of liquor mafia. “Khatam Hei Bhai SP Aapka,” (brother, your SP is over) is what Shahbuddin has conversed over the call. Shahbuddin has been charged with several criminal cases.

Although Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal (United) is in an alliance with the RJD in the state, and Yadav have not responded to the TV report yet, the news drew immediate political reactions.

Condemning the act of Lalu Prasad Yadav, many leaders from ruling BJP lined up to comment. Union ministers Siddharth Nath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu, Ravi Shankar Prasad and BJP President Amit Shah have slammed RJD President for taking orders from someone who is jailed. The channel quoted Union minister Venkaiah Naidu saying that the tape had “shocked the nation”. The information and broadcasting minister also congratulated Goswami for Republic TV’s launch.

Similarly, senior BJP leader, Sushil Kumar Modi said “ Goswami had exposed how Yadav took orders from “dreaded criminal” Shahbuddin and questioned whether the Nitish Kumar Government would take action against it.

Another BJP leader and UP minister Siddharth Nath Singh said on Republic TV that the channel’s report left the Bihar government with “no option but to file an FIR against Lalu Prasad”. He also alleged that the “mafia” was running the state government.

In other tapes that Republic TV aired, Shahabuddin is heard criticizing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his liquor ban. He further goes on to claim that he will circumvent the ban through bribes.

Yadav in the past has denied having contacted Shahabuddin, who is currently in Delhi’s Tihar Jail now serving a life sentence following conviction in 10 cases. He was shifted to the Capital from Bihar’s Siwan Jail in February for a fair trial after the Supreme Court heard appeals that said he had considerable influence and carried on his criminal activities in Siwan even from inside jail. There are some 45 cases still pending against Shahabuddin. Shahabuddin was convicted in the murder of Rajiv Raushan, a prime witness in another murder case involving the underworld don.

Arnab Goswami’s news channel Republic TV, meanwhile became the first Indian news channel to be streamed live on Star India’s digital platform Hotstar.

Arnab Goswami Resigns as 'Times Now' Editor-in-Chief


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