It started with an undated video in which Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, talks about how he was confronted by a Trishul-wielding mob of Hindu fundamentalists in Ahmedabad while covering the 2002 Gujarat riots for NDTV.
The account has all the details, except possibly one - that the incident really happened, according to many of his former colleagues, not with Goswami, but with his former boss Rajdeep Sardesai.
Sardesai, now prime time anchor with India Today TV, took to Twitter to try and set the record straight saying. “Wow! My friend Arnab claims his car attacked next to CM Res in Guj riots! Truth: he wasn't covering Ahmedabad riots!!”
Wow! My friend Arnab claims his car attacked next to CM Res in Guj riots! Truth:he wasn't covering Ahmedabad riots!! https://t.co/xOe7zY8rCp— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 19, 2017
Fekugiri has its limits, but seeing this, I feel sorry for my profession. https://t.co/xOe7zY8rCp— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) September 19, 2017
Sardesai also pointed out that the incident was included in his book - "2014: The Election That Changed India - published three years ago. Members of NDTV’s 2002 team validated Sardesai's version.
The video, purportedly from a gathering in Assam when the Congress was in power there, was soon taken down from the Internet. But by then the meme army latched on, and Goswami was pictured reporting every significant occasion - from World War II to India's Independence to Tianenman Square.
Here are the most hilarious ones under the hashtag #ArnabDidIt which trended at the top on Wednesday:
Couldn't resist it. Arnab— Krish Ashok (@krishashok) September 20, 2017
1. meeting with the Luftwaffe to plan to liberate India
2. Inspecting the INA
3. Sharing a moment with Edwina pic.twitter.com/jcLsxgW5fU
Battle of Longewala. Major Arnab Goswami. 23rd Batallion. Punjab Regiment. Rest is history #ArnabDidIt— Joy (@Joydas) September 20, 2017
One of Goswami's colleagues later tweeted an old picture which showed her boss along with Rajdeep Sardesai as part of the NDTV team which covered the 2002 riots.
The crew that covered 2002 Gujarat riots pic.twitter.com/W5OEcxTZwm— Prema Sridevi (@premasridevi) September 20, 2017
Other reports countered this defence pointing out the picture was taken at a much later stage during the coverage of the riots.