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Indian opposition seeks inquiry into Arnab leaks

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NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Indian opposition parties called on Monday for an investigation into chat messages from controversial TV anchor Arnab Goswami.

The screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation between Arnab Goswami and the former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta are making rounds on social media besides also being quoted by Indian media.

The messages discuss the Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, in which 40 Indian soldiers were killed, with Goswami rejoicing and writing to Dasgupta about how the attack has helped his channel. ‘This attack we have won like crazy,’ he wrote to Dasgupta.

The messages, reported by Indian media and seen by Reuters, are part of a charge-sheet filed by police in Mumbai investigating alleged fixing of ratings by Republic – charges the network denies.

Republic has often adopted positions supportive of the Modi government and Goswami is known for his aggressive attacks on the opposition in his prime-time nightly programme.

India’s main opposition Congress party, as well as Shiv Sena, a regional party that governs Maharashtra state where the TV channel is based, have both called for a government inquiry into the messages.

Shashi Tharoor, a Congress lawmaker, said the messages required “serious inquiry” by the Modi government.

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