The police on Friday filed a chargesheet against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and two others in a 2018 abetment of suicide case. The chargesheet was filed before a court in Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district, where the case for alleged abetment of suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud has been registered. Besides Goswami, the other two accused named in the chargesheet are Firoze Sheikh and Nitish Sarda, said special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat. As many as 65 persons are named as witnesses, he added.
Meanwhile, Republic TV has lashed out against the Maharashtra government. In a statement, the channel has called the filing of a chargesheet â€śnothing but a shallow attempt to play cat and mouseâ€ť and a â€ścomplete mockeryâ€ť of the Supreme Court, and its sanctity as the highest court of the country. â€śThe filing of the chargesheet comes eight days after the Honourable Supreme Court had said that prima facie no case had been made against Arnab Goswami in the case. The unchecked state-sponsored malice against Arnab is once against conclusively established,â€ť the statement said. â€śIt is quickly becoming clear that blinded by vendetta the Maharashtra Government and Param Bir Singh are willing to go to any lengths to torment an innocent independent journalist - even to the extent to act in virtual contempt to the Apex Court of the nation,â€ť it added.
Arnab Goswami had moved the Bombay High Court on Thursday seeking a stay to the filing of chargesheet, but the petition is yet to be heard. In his application, Arnab alleged that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh is â€śprejudging and publicly guidingâ€ť the investigation in the 2018 suicide case of Anvay Naik. He has also moved the court against his November 4 arrest by the Raigad police and has asked the High Court to transfer the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Arnab had been arrested on November 4 and was initially kept at a local school which is designated as a COVID-19 quarantine centre for the Alibaug prison. He was later shifted to the Taloja jail in Raigad district after allegedly being found using a mobile phone while in judicial custody. He remained in Taloja jail for a week till the Supreme Court granted him bail to Goswami on November 11. He was released from jail that night. Along with him, Sheikh and Sarda were also released by Alibaug police.
Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud died by suicide in 2018, allegedly because of non-payment of dues by firms of Goswami and other two accused. The case, closed for want of evidence in 2019, was reopened in May this year, with Goswami alleging that the Maharashtra government was pursuing a vendetta against him for his work as a TV journalist.
With PTI inputs