Recently, an old video clip showing television news anchor and Republic TV managing editor Arnab Goswami narrating his "experience" while covering 2002 Gujarat riots went viral on social media. In the 1-minute-and-15-second-video clip, Goswami is seen narrating an "incident" which he says occurred just 50 metres from the Ahmedabad residence of then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
While "covering" the riots, Goswami claims, a group of people brandishing Trishuls (trident) broke the windows of their ambassador car and asked them to stop. According to him, the mob asked all the passengers to reveal their religion. They were only allowed to go after the mob was convinced that none of them belonged to minority community, Goswami says in the clip which was reportedly shot two years ago.
Turns out he may be lying. Because Goswami wasn't covering Ahmedabad riots at all! Or so say fellow journalists.
This was pointed out by Goswami's early-years boss and India Today consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai through a series of tweets on Tuesday.
Wow! My friend Arnab claims his car attacked next to CM Res in Guj riots! Truth:he wasn't covering Ahmedabad riots!! https://t.co/xOe7zY8rCp— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 19, 2017
Sardesai also called Goswami's claim "fekugiri" which made him feel "sorry" for his profession.
Fekugiri has its limits, but seeing this, I feel sorry for my profession. https://t.co/xOe7zY8rCp— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 19, 2017
When Twitter users began questioning Sardesai over his rebuttal of Goswami's claims, Sardesai revealed that the incident which the Republic TV anchor narrated in the clip actually happened to him and his another colleague while covering Gujarat riots.
Yes, incident which Arnab speaks of did happen. Only he wasn't there, some of us who actually were on ground zero were! (Read my 2014 book)😀— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 19, 2017
That is correct. And Narendra Gudavalli. https://t.co/rxL5IhYmuY— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 19, 2017
Sardesai's revelations were also seconded by former NDTV journalist Sanjeev Singh who was the channel's correspondent in Ahmedabad that time. Another journalist Nalin Mehta also clarified that the incident actually took place with Sardesai.
There has been no comment from Goswami's side as of now.
Sardesai's public fact check of Goswami's claims is unlikely to ameliorate the uncordial relationship the two star anchors share with each other.
Even if Goswami worked under Sardesai for nearly a decade, the senior-junior equation in newsroom doesn't seem to have found same reverence after NDTV days. In fact, much of that period has been decided by the race for maximum TRPs, leading Sardesai to call Goswami's "the nation wants to know" as "disturbingly chaotic and sensationalist".
Goswami hasn't remained silent either. A profile of Goswami published in The Caravan magazine in 2012 illustrates it better.
"Goswami had worked under Sardesai for almost a decade, and despised him so deeply that his son had made a charming drawing of Goswami triumphing over his former boss. Goswami is a dedicated father, and he proudly displayed it in his office."
The two colleagues had also taken a dig at each other following Goswami's exclusive but soft-toned interview with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister for the first time. While Goswami had targeted Sardesai's wife and senior journalist Sagarika Ghosh, Sardesai had stayed away from making a direct comment by stating he doesn't want to engage with right-wing social media trolls targeting his wife.
Not at all. They and their glorified hero have revealed their mindset. Let them continue. https://t.co/F32EnKFOkL— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) July 2, 2016
The frosty connection between the two had come to public glare in 2014 also when the two were part of a discussion panel during a media award function.
Whether Goswami chooses to reply through studio-shouting or facts, remains to be seen. And we will update the report accordingly.