Goswami launched his new channel on May 6 by playing tapes of phone conversations between RJD chief Lalu Prasad and jailed former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin. Two days later, the channel broadcast tapes of phone conversations between Sridevi and Sunanda Pushkar and their house-help Narayan.
BCCL’s internal inquiry indicated that both these `exposes’ used material that were procured and accessed by Goswami and Sridevi as employees of Times Now. The duo, in fact, admitted that the audio of the con versation with the late Pushkar and their domestic help had been in their possession for the last two years.
M K Anand, CEO of Times Now, says that “the management discovered these thefts only when it was aired on Republic TV . It is sad that a man of his stature has turned into a thief and stolen content from Times Now to launch his own channel. Arnab intentionally chose not to air the tapes while in Times Now and stole them to do a grand launch of Republic to get high viewership. This obviously was well planned since he used both these stories in the first three days of the launch.“
BCCL has accused Goswami and Sridevi of willfully and deliberately using Times Now intellectual property and sought prosecution under section 403 and other sections of the IPC for criminal misappropriation of property and violation of certain sections of the Information Technology Act.Section 66B of the IT Act stipulates that anyone who “dishonestly receives or retains any stolen computer resource or communication device knowing or having reason to believe the same to be stolen computer resource or communication device“ shall be punished with up to three years’ imprisonment or fined up to Rs 1lakh, or both.
BCCL is India’s largest media house and publishes The Times of India, The Economic Times and Navbharat Times, among others.