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May 6, 2017: Republic TV, led by popular prime-time news anchor Arnab Goswami, went live earlier Saturday. The channel's broadcast began with a monologue by Goswami thanking the viewers for their 'patience' and explaining at length the reason behind the birth of the new channel.
"…when the unscrupulous legal notices came, you supported me. For that support, I am fortunate. The universe conspired to make this happen," he said without naming anyone.
"Today this Saturday morning, we dedicate this channel to you, your faith, your belief and your love. We feel swayed in your affection…My team is raring to go and charged-up," he added.
Former TimesNow anchor Arnab Goswami on Saturday launched his new venture Republic TV with a predictably eyeball grabbing segment – what he claimed was exposé on the questionable relationship between Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and criminal-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin.
The channel aired an audio clip that it claimed was a conversation that took place between the two when the former Siwan MP was in jail. Yadav can purportedly be heard taking instructions from Shahabuddin on how the police should act in cases of violence in Siwan.
Although Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal (United) is in an alliance with the RJD in the state, and Yadav have not responded to the TV report yet, the news drew immediate political reactions.
The channel quoted Union minister Venkaiah Naidu saying that the tape had "shocked the nation". The information and broadcasting minister also congratulated Goswami for Republic TV's launch.
Arnab ended his opening monologue saying, "We are a free channel in a free country propelled by your faith. This time, I am not going anywhere. I promise you."
Republic TV will be 'free-to-air' and is part of the ARG Outlier Media Private Limited. Among its main investors are Rajya Sabha MP's Rajeev Chandrashekar's Asianet News Online Private Limited, and SARG Media Holding Private Limited which is owned by Goswami himself. In a first of its kind partnership, Republic TV will be made available on online streaming service Hotstar as well.
TNT News with inputs from Scroll and Indian Express Business