'To safeguard himself he moves around with his personal security. That's it.'
News that Arnab Goswami, the anchor of the NewsHour show on the Times Now television news channel, has been given 'Y' class security by the government is not correct, a close friend of Goswami told Subhash K Jha.
"Arnab has no clue where this news came from," this friend, who said he was speaking on Goswami's behalf, pointed out.
"A week ago he suddenly got calls and messages from a daily newspaper which he did not take. Before he knew it, the report was picked up by numerous papers and Web sites."
"Arnab has not been provided any security, Y, Z or otherwise," the friend, speaking on Gowami's behalf, clarified.
"To safeguard himself he moves around with his personal security. That's it. Arnab finds the whole debate that has opened up on whether he deserves governmental security to be very amusing," the friend added.
"Neither has the government come forward to provide him any security nor is he soliciting any security from the government."
A contributing correspondent, familiar with events, had told Rediff.com October 17, military intelligence had alerted the government to perceived threats emanating from Pakistan to Times Now Editor-in-Chief Goswami.
Two terrorist organisations in Pakistan, military intelligence learnt, had detailed information about Goswami's movements in Mumbai.
An eight page transcript of conversations in Urdu was provided by military intelligence to the Union home ministry in New Delhi.
A joint secretary in the home ministry had requested Maharashtra's director general of police to assign 20 policemen to guard Goswami around the clock.
Policemen, it was learnt, would be stationed at Goswami's home and office. All visitors, it was said, would undergo a comprehensive security check before they meet the news anchor.
When Subhash K Jha asked Arnab last week if he is fazed by the terror threats?
"There is no need to worry," Goswami told Jha.
"There is a lot of support for the work we do," he said. "Public support and goodwill is what matters the most."
"In many ways, it is the best security blanket that I can get."
Now comes the clarification from a source close to Goswami that no government security is being provided to the news anchor.