A day after filing a criminal case for theft against Republic TV’s founder, Arnab Goswami, Times Now has released a list of full charges against its former employer.
In its statement, Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), which Times Now is a part of, said, “The existence of the Sunanda and Lalu tapes was known to Arnab Goswami and his close circle within the Editorial team. Being President and Editor of Times Now, he kept such Tapes/Recording in his own possession for appropriate usage as decided by him. As such, the tapes were hidden from BCCL and Times Now management till they were utilized and aired on Republic TV by Arnab Goswami.
“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 May 7th, wherein, we realised this theft.”
Goswami’s former employer also rubbished his claims that he was not allowed to broadcast the tapes on Lalu and Sunanda. Times Now accused Goswami of abusing the privilege of office and stealing the Intellectual Property Rights that essentially belonged to them.
It said, “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 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 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 BCCL had lodged a criminal complaint against Goswami and another former employee, Prema Sridevi, for infringing its copyright on Wednesday.
The complaint was filed with the Azad Maidan Police Station in Mumbai under sections 378, with sections 379, 403, 405, with sections 406, 409, 411, 414 and 418 of the Indian Penal Code, besides Section 66-B, 72 and 72-A of the IT Act, 2000.
Among the offences include theft, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of property and infringement of IPR of BCCL by using the same on Republic TV on multiple occasions on May 6 and May 8, 2017.
Goswami had not responded to our calls or message but, in his statement tweeted by one of his colleagues, he had mockingly said, “Interesting to see them get so nervous. I think they instinctively know they have lost their audience. It’s amusing to see them get paranoid…They can’t handle the fact that despite all their money they have lost the news battle to a group of new age journalists.”
Republic TV was launched on 6 May and on the first day of its launch, Goswami had broadcast what he called was an expose on nexus between Lalu Yadav and former RJD MP, Shahabuddin.
He had also played audio tapes of a conversation between the two alleging that while the latter was in prison, he was in touch with Lalu.
The allegations of theft surfaced after the News Broadcasters Association had accused Republic TV of malpractices to boost viewership.
Last week, Goswami had courted controversy after called a Congress spokesperson a ‘worm’ and the ‘lapdog’ of the Gandhi family.
However, on Thursday, when the audience figures were released by BARC, Republic had emerged a clear winner by dislodging Times Now from the number one spot in the very first week of its launch.