Rajdeep Sardesai and Arnab Goswami
Rajdeep Sardesai and Arnab Goswami

Rajdeep vs Arnab: War of words on prime time over Sushant and Hathras case

Rajdeep Sardesai had slammed Arnab on live tv, saying he runs a 'banana republic channel.'

India Today Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai on Monday slammed Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami over the latter’s coverage of the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. In turn, Arnab retaliated on his show on Tuesday without naming either Rajdeep or the channel. 

“Targeted me during my Rhea Chakraborty interview, and more, but today I’m going to say – Arnab Goswami, you run a banana republic channel,” Rajdeep says, in the video that has been shared online. “You run a channel that has deliberately created a media trial for whatever your ends are. But do not bring journalism down to the level that you have. This is the only advice I will give you. This is not what journalism is about."

“You want me to name and shame, I will name and shame today, because I have kept quiet for two-and-a-half months and listened to the crap that you have put out on air with only one purpose that you had — to try and get rating points. There’s something more important than TRPs my friend, it’s called television respect points,” Rajdeep adds in the video. 

The war of words seems to have broken out over the AIIMS panel report in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, which ruled out the murder angle. Days after the panel’s findings were reported in the media, Republic TV aired an old audio conversation of one of the doctors on the AIIMS panel, where he had said that there was ‘contamination of evidence’ at the scene of his death. However, this audio conversation was dated August 22, a day before the AIIMS panel had begun its probe into the death.

On Tuesday, following Rajdeep’s remarks, Arnab hit back without naming him, but called him ‘decaying and defunct.’ 

“I have no problem if someone who is decaying, or someone who is decaying and defunct, wants to take my name to gain one day’s relevance,” Arnab said on his show. 

Arnab also hit out at a section of the media, which he called the ‘riot lobby’ stating that they are losing relevance and are ‘trying to close the Sushant case.’

“For a very long time in this country, a section of the media got used to setting the narrative,” Arnab said on Tuesday. “This group, their decline started around 2010 with the corruption scams being exposed. It accelerated after 2014 when they and their patrons lost power in Delhi. Then it went into semi permanent decline in 2019 when the country rejected them again. And now with the prospect of losing power forever, this group, who I informally call the lobby, has gone mad. It has gone completely mad and as they say in simple English, I don't want to be rude, but this group of people in the media have gone bonkers,” he added, asking if they had taken a “contract” to try and close the Sushant case.

He also questioned the gangrape charge in the Hathras case, citing reported call data records that showed that the victim and the accused were in touch before the incident, alleging that it was ‘created’ to fan flames. “Will this riot lobby explain what they gained?” Arnab asked.   

The Hathras incident has sparked massive outrage across the country. Hathras has been in the news following the death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly gang-raped on September 14 in a village in the district. 

The Yogi Adityanath government is fighting severe criticism for its handling of the case, particularly after the local police burnt the woman's body at night without the family's approval. However, officials said the cremation was done "as per the wishes of the family". 

The government has claimed that some people were trying to foment caste tensions in the aftermath of the alleged rape of the woman by four "upper caste" men on September 14. Quoting an FSL report, it has denied the rape charge.

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