Activist and known Congress supporter, Tehseen Poonawalla, has asked journalist Arnab Goswami to come clean on the association of political leaders and corporate houses in his upcoming news channel, Republic.
Poonawalla asked Goswami, “Arnab, will you please tell us the citizens of the Republic of India 1) if any MP has financed your venture in any way? If yes, the name &political ideology of this MP 2)if yes then the parliamentary committee (s) your partner/promoter/financier/financier MP is on? 3)Is any of your partner(s)/promoter/financier is connected in any way to any arms/weapons company? 4) if yes then is any of your partner (s)/ promoter/ financier or any govt or parliamentary committee related to defence?”
Poonawalla further asked Goswami to explain if his business partner or promoter also benefited from war because of their involved in weapons manufacturing firms.
He asked, “Your stand on India Pak is well known and if your partner 9s)/promoter/ financier may profit from war, how do you propose to keep this background of your partner(s)/ promoter/ financier distant from your reportage/ journalism?”
Poonawalla’s hard-hitting letter, which has is now being widely shared on social media comes in the wake of growing speculation on the potential investors in journalist Goswami’s new media venture after he quit Times Now as its editor-in-chief.
Recently, when Goswami appeared on the cover page of a magazine, Man’s World, his PR team specifically asked the interviewer not to ask him any questions related to who funding nature of Rapublic TV.
In January, we reported how among those who’d invested in Republic were Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an NDA MP in Rajya Sabha and Mohandas Pai, a former executive of Infosys.
Although Chandrasekhar identifies himself as an independent MP, his association with the BJP-led NDA is not a secret anymore. Not too long ago, he had actively campaigned for the NDA in Kerala assembly elections in May last year.
His ‘independence’ had also come under intense scrutiny last year when an email sent by Amit Gupta, the Chief Operating Officer of Jupiter Capital, was leaked to media. Chandrasekhar owns his media ventures that includes Asianet in Kerala and Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha in Karnataka.
The content of Gupta’s email meant for editorial staff of media outlets owned by Chandrasekhar had said that “all editorial talent to be hired” should be “right of centre in his / her editorial tonality,” “pro-India and pro-Military,” and they must be “well familiarised with his thoughts on nationalism and governance.”
Mohandas Pai too has been an outspoken supporter of the BJP and its Hindutva ideologies. His Twitter timeline is replete with posts supporting the ideologies of the saffron party. He was also a frequent guest on Times Now’s flagship programme, Newshour, hosted by Goswami.
Republic will be a part of the company called ARG Outlier Media Private Limited, which has reportedly received an investment of Rs 30 crore from Chandrasekhar through companies owned by him.
SARG Media Holding Private Limited, a company owned by Goswami and his wife Samyabrata Ray Goswami, too has invested Rs 26 crore in ARG Outlier. Curiously,the largest investor in SARG is Ranjan Ramdas Pai of Aarin Capital Partners, which he co-founded with Mohandas Pai, who has invested Rs 7.5 crore.
Republic will be part of a company called ARG Outlier Media Private Limited. Goswami was appointed managing director of ARG Outlier on November 19, a day after he left Times Now as its editor-in-chief. Chandrasekhar, through companies owned by him, has invested over Rs 30 crore in ARG Outlier.
Apart from Chandrasekhar’s Asianet News Online Private Limited, SARG Media Holding Private Limited — also owned by Goswami — is the main investor in ARG Outlier. SARG, in which Goswami and his wife Samyabrata Ray Goswami are directors and own most of the equity, had investments from 14 other individuals and companies towards the end of November, according to latest information available with the Registrar of Companies. SARG, as of November 24, 2016, had invested Rs 26 crore in ARG Outlier, through various investments.
The largest investor in SARG is Ranjan Ramdas Pai of Aarin Capital Partners, which he co-founded with Mohandas Pai, who has invested Rs 7.5 crore.