After much anticipation of a 'Super Saturday', Arnab Goswami's new venture Republic was launched on Saturday morning.
On their first broadcast, Republic aired purported tapes on how mafia don Shahabuddin, a convict now in jail, had a direct line to RJD leader Lalu Prasad, and was able to call the shots on police transfers.
A conversation reportedly recorded between Lalu Prasad and Shahabuddin was aired in the show. During the conversation, Shahabuddin is heard speaking to Lalu about police firing in Siwan. Republic claimed that the don was giving ‘instructions to Lalu’ and 'warning him of a riot' if the police interfered.
Shahabuddin is further accused of running a parallel government in Bihar and even abusing Nitish for seizing bottles of alcohol following the liquor ban. Republic also aired purported tapes in which the don is dissing Bihar CM Nitish Kumar for the liquor ban, and Shahabuddin is heard stating he will bribe his way out of the ban.
The anchor then claimed that 'Lalu must quit politics' for selling out to Shahabuddin.
The newly launched channel’s sting reel - ‘This is Republic’ - has been voiced by veteran actor Kamal Haasan.
The launch also kicked off a ratings war for English news TV, with Times Now hitting back with its own expose on the 'Dalals' of Pakistan.
An investigation by the channel allegedly revealed that separatists in Kashmir have been receiving a steady stream of funds from the Pakistan ISI. The channel claimed that it has exposed the nexus between Pakistan and separatists who are attempting to radicalise the youth in Jammu and Kashmir.
At the eye of this storm was Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah, who they accused of being responsible for hiring miscreants who led to unrest in the region. Anchored by Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar, the bulletin saw a constant demand for the ban of the Hurriyat.
Republic was launched by Arnab Goswami six months after he quit Times Now as Editor-in-Chief. The channel has been branded as both independent and nationalist, and Arnab declared in his first broadcast that, “Being a nationalist is a prerequisite to being a journalist.”