"Buy the judge", this is what Partho Dasgupta, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcast Audience Research Council told Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in an alleged WhatsApp chat on February 23, 2019.
In the ongoing investigation into the alleged rigging of television rating points (TRP), the Mumbai police have submitted some damning chats between Goswami and Dasgupta which allegedly show the duo discussing ways to "manipulate" the ratings, information related to Goswami's proximity with the Prime Minister's office and members of the ruling government.
Some chats also show Goswami assuring help from PMO with relations to the TRPs.
One of the chats also reveals that Das Gupta allegedly asked Goswami to "buy the judge" to settle the TRP scam case.
The alleged WhatsApp messages between Goswami and Dasgupta allegedly include Goswami bragging about his reach within the central government.
In a chat dated 17 July 2017, Goswami told Dasgupta that "Venkaiah is probable Vice President". At that time, Naidu, then the I&B Minister, was chosen as the BJP's Vice-Presidential nominee at a parliamentary board meeting of the party.
To this, Dasgupta allegedly replied, "so again change of minister", before adding, "So who next I&B". Goswami then said, "shruti.. smriti". "So happy. She is a fighter and a great friend," he added. Union Minister Smriti Irani took additional charge as I&B Minister.
On 16 October 2019, Dasgupta asked Goswami to see if he could help him get a "media advisor kind of position with PMO" as he was "fed up with BARC". The two also talked about how actor Kangana Ranaut's interview to Republic TV after Sushant Singh Rajput's death in June 2020 generated TRPs for the channel. Dasgupta purportedly lauded Goswami's interview for making Ranaut say "controversial" things.
The chats or the document were recorded by Mumbai's Kandivali police station as part of the panchanama for Das Gupta's mobile phone on 26 December last year. The chats purportedly reveal conversations between Goswami and "PDG", who the Mumbai Police identify the latter as Dasgupta.
Mumbai Police arrested Dasgupta on 24 December last year and have filed a charge sheet and a supplementary charge sheet in the case since then.