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BJP MP Swamy finds holes in Arnab Goswami’s 'Republic'

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MUMBAI: Arnab Goswami’s up and coming TV news channel, 'Republic', is back in the news and limelight. This time, though, criticism is from an unlikely quarter. BJP Member of Parliament Subramaniam Swamy now has questioned the use of the world ‘republic’ for commercial use, citing Indian laws.

In a letter dated 13 January 2017, Swamy wrote to the secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) : "It has come to my notice that a new TV channel under the name of “Republic” is in the process of being launched... It may be noticed that certain names and emblems are prohibited from being used under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 for professional and commercial purposes. As per the schedule accompanying the statute, under Item 6, there is an express prohibition from using the phrase, “Republic”. ”

Indiantelevision could not independently confirm the authenticity of Swamy's letter and get a comment from 'Republic', scheduled for a reported formal launch tomorrow (26 January).

Industry observers felt that, though Swamy’s letter may cause some flutter, but it’s highly unlikely that Goswami’s venture would be torpedoed at this moment and stage of completion.

Swamy, generally regarded as the trouble shooter for the BJP and the nationalist-party led coalition government in New Delhi has caused a spot of bother for Goswami and his team of investors, which include another BJP MP and enterpreneur Rajeev Chandrashekhar.

Swamy’s letter to MIB, posted on his official Twitter page, goes on to suggest that “grant of licence to a news channel to broadcast under the name of ‘Republic’ will be contrary to law and a direct breach of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950."

Industry observers felt that though Swamy’s letter may cause some flutter, but it’s highly unlikely that goswami’s venture would be torpedoed at this moment and stage of completion.

Goswami's venture had applied for uplinking and downlinking of a news channel in late November 2016 and he was appointed ARG Outlier MD on 19 November 2016, a day after he left Times Now.

Chandrasekhar, reportedly, has invested over Rs 30 crore or Rs 300 million in ARG Outlier whereas Goswami's SARG Media Holding is the main investor. According to latest information with the Registrar of Companies, which have been put out in public domain by various media organisations and not denied by Goswami or his investors, the largest SARG investor (Rs 7.5 crore) is Ranjan Ramdas Pai of Aarin Capital Partners. Mumbai's Asian Heart Institute owner Ramakanta Panda has invested Rs 5 crore while investor Hemendra Kothari has put in Rs 2.5 crore. Other investors inlcude R Naresh and Shobhana Ramachandhran of TVS Tyres, Renaissance Jewellery and SRF Transnational owner Niranjan Shah, Sameer Manchanda, Sanjeev Manchanda (DEN Networks) and Tapesh Virendra Singhi.

Swamy has appealed to the secretary: "Therefore, your office may look into the use of “Republic” and determine if it is prohibited to issue a license under such a name." 

It remains to be seen whether a slight tweak in the actual name, Republicworld, would save the first most significant feature of Goswami's new venture -- the name.

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