By Sushil Kutty


After the heady days of being a near-Neta in a Mumbai suburb, journalist-editor-in-chief-cum-media-baron-cum-ex-jailbird Arnab Goswami is now a sub-continental sensation with the extra-sensory perception to predict airstrikes across the border with some degree of perception if not precision. And if he is a close confidante of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the key to the PMO’s vault in his trouser pocket, he is no friend of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran khan who if he was running towards Arnab would chuck a cricket ball at him so fast it would catch Arnab in the noggin and no apologies asked.      


Yep, the Pakistan Government, and Prime Minister  Imran Khan, have also got hold of Arnab’s Whatsapp chats with ex-Barc CEO Partho Dasgupta and Khan & Country don’t like it, especially the bit in which Arnab tells Partho, Modi was planning a big strike against Pakistan to avenge Pulwama, and Pakistan was gonna learn the lesson of its short life. Imran Khan — Sunny Gavaskar will know as will Kapil Dev — doesn’t like to be caught on the wrong side of boundary. Then, it’s either an out-swinger or a Yorker, a bouncer to the head. Khan has taken grave umbrage and has said that Arnab Goswami’s “talk’ shows Modi had planned the Balakot airstrikes to win the 2019 general elections.


Further proof is in the fact that Modi and his party reaped the Balakot benefit – a majority of 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, a number big enough to ditch any party and every party in the NDA and still run the government. For Arnab Goswami, Imran shouting from Islamabad is like an invitation to the Joe Biden inauguration. Who does not like publicity and this was sounding and resounding across India and Pakistan. Doesn’t matter if all of Pakistan was glowering in disgusted anger and Imran Khan had got the reason and excuse to beat India with. Bad publicity is as good as good publicity and Arnab Goswami had in these past few months got inured to bad publicity. Don’t forget the chap is an ex-jailbird, and jailbirds walk out of jail with a halo.


The question is did Arnab Goswami know that the Balakot airstrikes were to take place in retaliation to the Pulwama terror attack? More to the point, did he know it three days in advance? Of course, Goswami is going about with the defence that everybody knew there would be retaliation and that the Prime minister had spoken of retribution and so had the Indian Armed Forces. That, in fact, if anybody did not know or expect retaliation, it was the guilty Pakistanis and Prime Minister Imran Khan.


Goswami is not cutting ice in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry has reacted, saying the chat transcripts “proved” beyond doubt that the Modi’s “RSS-BJP government” had staged a “false flag operation” against Pakistan by “whipping up hyper-nationalistic passions in India to gain electorally.”


Imran Khan tweeted that the electoral-savvy Modi ‘used” the Balakot airstrikes for domestic electoral gains, even at the risk of pushing “our nuclearised region to the brink of a conflict it cannot afford.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the PMO and Home Minister Amit Shah might now be ruing Arnab Goswami getting ready access to key Government bureaucrats and ministers. Loudmouth he is on television, glib and talkative, but whoever thought he would tell state secrets, sensitive, highly confidential matters, to the CEO of a television rating agency?


Hello, this man Arnab Goswami cannot be trusted with a child’s poem. He will blurt it out to the first person he comes across in the society lift. Arnab Goswami cannot keep anything in his stomach. Lucky, he’s got a channel to run and own. Otherwise, the fellow wouldn’t qualify for a trustworthy job anywhere. Not only is he a loudmouth, he’s also got a big mouth – yaaaaaaaawwwwww! Anyway, the bigger point is, how come he knows all the state secrets? Which minister/which bureaucrat tells him sensitive stuff?


The job is cut out for National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval. The NSA should order an inquiry, preferably under the keen eyes and ears of the Supreme Court, doesn’t matter if Goswami is close pal of top legal-eagle Harish Salve who doesn’t charge a single penny from Arnab for services rendered. The fact is, something like this ‘leak” which somebody “leaked’ to the Mumbai Police cannot go unchecked. Maybe, Mumbai Police will widen its investigations and check on this facet of Arnab Goswami, too. Maybe the encounter specialist is versatile enough!            


It’s kind of weird, Goswami discussing with Partho about Pulwama. At the time Partho was sitting Barc CEO. Apparently, the Pulwama attack did wonders for Republic TV’s ratings and how! “This attack we have won like crazy,” he chatted with Dasgupta. The nation’s Nationalist No.1 likes his channel’s ratings rising even if there’s the stench of the burning flesh of patriots in them. Now, Goswami says Pakistan and Mumbai Police and everybody he can point a finger at is in a “conspiracy” against his channel. “Which Indian did not expect the Indian forces to hit back in a big way after the Pulwama terrorist attack?” he asks, and we wonder. (IPA Service)

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