Ahead of being sworn in as BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP on Tuesday, Rajeev Chandrasekhar resigned as a Board Director from ARG Outlier Asianet News Private Limited, the company that owns Republic TV headed by journalist Arnab Goswami. The media owner-turned-politician resigned from his position on March 31.
“I have taken this decision because of my recent joining of BJP and being elected as a BJP MP. As you are aware, from 2006 I have been in public life as an Independent MP and not a member of any political party. Since I am now a member of the BJP, I believe it is in the best interest of Republic TV's brand and team that I no longer serve on the board,” reads a press statement issued by Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Monday.
It goes on to state, “In my career as an investor and entrepreneur, I have had the privilege of investing and building several successful companies and brands. The Media Tech investment in Republic ranks high amongst my many investments and it has been a pleasure to witness first-hand the amazing journey and growth over the first year of this exciting Media Tech Brand and company under the leadership of Arnab and his team."
On March 12, Rajeev Chandrasekhar joined the BJP a day after the party nominated him as their candidate in the Rajya Sabha election. He went on to win in the March 23 Rajya Sabha election, with the backing of the BJP. Prior to joining the BJP, Rajeev has been a Rajya Sabha MP twice before, first in 2006 and then in 2012 as an independent candidate. He got the support of the BJP and JD(S) on both occasions.
As reported by TNM in January 2017, the two main companies in Republic TV’s corporate structure are ARG Outlier Asianet News Private Limited and SARG Media Holding Pvt Ltd.
ARG Outlier was incorporated on August 8, 2016 and had five directors - Rajeev Chandrasekhar of ANOPL (Nominee Director); Ajay Rameshchandra Garg of Equirus Capital; Samyabrata Ray Goswami (wife of Arnab Goswami); Arnab Ranjan Goswami (Managing Director) and Mohit Jayanti Raghunath Dhamne (Company Secretary).
Rajeev was made director on November 24, 2016.
Arnab and his wife Samyabrata Ray Goswami became directors in ARG and SARG on November 19, 2016, four days after he left Times Now.
ARG has two main investors – Asianet Online and SARG, which holds more equity. Both ARG and SARG are registered at the same address in Lower Parel, Mumbai.
Asianet Online, Rajeev’s company, invested about Rs 30 crore in ARG Outlier on November 19.
SARG has invested about Rs 26 crore in ARG.
Republic TV went on air on May 6, 2017 and has since garnered a reputation of being sensational, high on rhetoric while largely toeing the BJP-led government’s line on issues and policies.
Rajeev is also the founder and chairman of Jupiter Capital Pvt. Ltd, a financial services and investment company. Over the years, the businessman has invested in a number of media companies including Malayalam channel Asianet News, Kannada organisations like newspaper Kannada Prabha, channel Suvarna News and Radio Indigo.