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War of words between Arnab Goswami and Times Group escalate

MUMBAI: The war of words between Times Group and Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami escalated, with the former claiming that it had no knowledge of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Sunanda Pushkar tapes until it came in the public domain following its airing on Republic TV.

Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL) had filed a criminal complaint against Arnab and his colleague Prema Sridevi over copyright violation. The company contended that the tapes belong to it as these were gathered during the duo’s employment with the company.

Goswami has brushed aside the charge and accused BCCL of concealing the truth.

“If Times Now had the Lalu tapes, then why didn’t they release it in the six months I was not there? They must explain how they had the tapes and if they had the tapes, then why did they not put the tapes in the last six months I was not there,” Goswami said in an interaction.

He also alleged that “Prema Sridevi was put under pressure by her immediate seniors not to share the tapes with the police.”

“We want justice in Sunanda Pushkar murder case,” he said.

Goswami also said that he felt suffocated many times in Times Now as his editorial independence was infringed upon. He refused to go into the details of specific instances when he was prevented from acting independently.

He also lambasted the BCCL for not allowing him to name his prime-time show as ‘Arnab Goswami’s Newshour’.

In a statement, Times Network clarified that the tapes in question were only known to Goswami and his close circle. It also alleged that the tapes were hidden from the organisation.

“The existence of the Sunanda and Lalu tapes was known only to Arnab Goswami and his close circle within the editorial team. Being president and editor of Times Now, he kept such tapes / recordings in his own possession for appropriate usage as decided by him. As such, the tapes were hidden from the BCCL and Times Now management till they were utilised and aired on Republic TV by Arnab Goswami,” the company said in a statement.

“Suggesting, therefore, that Times Now did not wilfully use these tapes after he left is a gross misrepresentation. Upon his own admission on Republic TV that the tapes were lying with him for past two years, we investigated this matter internally after 7 May, wherein we realised this theft.”

Denying Goswami’s charge of interference in his working, the company said that he had complete independence and authority. It also reiterated the charge of copyright infringement against Goswami.

“As editor-in-chief, Arnab had complete independence and authority to use the tapes or keep it away for later use on Times Now. We believe that taking it out of the company after resigning and using it for his own purposes as a competing channel owner is a breach of trust and misappropriation of property. It is also an abuse of privilege of office and tantamount to stealing IPR. That he decided to use it as his launch stories itself shows the extremely high value of the assets which belong to Times Now and all viewership generated using them should rightfully belong to us. We have registered a police complaint and the matter is under investigation,” the statement added.

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