TV journalist Arnab Goswami. Photo: Swarajya

TV journalist Arnab Goswami’s claim that he was attacked by a mob while covering the Gujarat riots in 2002 has been called a lie.

Goswami, the editor of television news channel Republic, recently shared that he and his crew were attacked while covering the Gujarat riots in 2002, near the state chief minister’s residence. But on September 19, in two tweets, Rajdeep Sardesai, consulting editor at India Today Television, called Goswami a liar.

In a 2013 video that recently surfaced online, Goswami recounts facing down communal mobs in Gujarat, the same experience documented in a book – 2014: The Elections That Changed India – by his former boss, Rajdeep Sardesai, Swarajya reported.

Taking to Twitter, Sardesai called out Goswami, saying he had lifted his own story. “Wow! My friend Arnab claims his car attacked next to CM Res in Guj riots! Truth: he wasn’t covering Ahmedabad riots!!”
The Youtube video showing Goswami making his claims about the attack was soon removed.

Sardesai further tweeted, “Fekugiri has its limits, but seeing this, I feel sorry for my profession.”  Nalin Mehta and Sanjeev Singh, senior journalists who covered the 2002 riots, also came forward to expose Goswami.

Meanwhile, a Republic TV employee tweeted a 2002 picture that showed Goswami and Sardesai with the caption, “The crew that covered 2002 Gujarat riots.” But that could not be used to establish whether Goswami had recounted his own experience because the incident in question happened in the first few days of the riots.

Goswami reportedly participated in the field coverage at a later stage, which was when the picture was taken. He was not in Gujarat on the day the incident he spoke about in the video took place, Times of India reported.

Sanjeev Singh, who headed NDTV’s Gujarat coverage in 2002, told BOOM, “Arnab came on the third day and he did not cover any story in Ahmedabad. Rajdeep sent him to Kheda district. He accompanied a Sky News team who were present in the city to cover the riots. He covered a couple of stories there and also spoke to some families of the victims of the Sabarmati Express. I can confirm that his team was never attacked as he was never in any danger zone.”

Sardesai’s colleague and managing editor of India Today, Rahul Kanwal, on Wednesday hosted a debate on whether he should apologise, Outlook India reported.

He said, “He has been caught lying quite blatantly. As redemption, he should have had the magnanimity to admit that he was lying and apologise for the same.”

However, suggesting Sardesai was a hypocrite, actor Anupam Kher asked on Twitter, “Nation also wants to know how many times have you resigned and quit journalism when your innumerable stories have turned out to be false?”