The court was hearing Arnab’s plea challenging his arrest and sought quashing of the FIR lodged against him in a 2018 suicide case.

Editor in Chief of Republic TV Arnab Goswami inside a police van after he was arrested from his residence by the Mumbai police
news Court Thursday, November 05, 2020 - 16:43

The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to grant any interim relief to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, who is in judicial custody under abetment to suicide charges, and said that it will continue hearing on Friday. The court was hearing Arnab’s plea challenging his "illegal arrest" and sought quashing of the FIR lodged against him in a 2018 case of abetment of suicide of an interior designer by Alibaug police in Maharashtra.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik said that before passing any interim order, the court would like to hear the family of the interior designer Anvay Naik who died by suicide in 2018, as well as the state. The designer’s daughter Adnya Naik has also filed a petition seeking a reinvestigation into her father’s suicide. The judges said they would not be passing any order without hearing Anvay’s family.

Appearing for Arnab, senior advocate Abad Ponda said that he had withdrawn the bail application moved before the Alibaug court since the Magistrate did not grant date for application.

The Bombay High Court bench issued notices to the state government and the complainant Adnya Naik and posted the petition for hearing to 3 pm on Friday.

Goswami was arrested on Wednesday from his residence at Lower Parel in Mumbai for allegedly abetting the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik, and was taken to the Alibaug police station in neighbouring Raigad district. He was later produced before a magistrate's court in Alibaug which remanded him in judicial custody till November 18.

Goswami is currently kept at a local school which has been designated as a COVID-19 centre for the Alibaug prison. In his petition, Goswami has challenged his "illegal arrest" and sought an urgent order of stay in the investigation into the case and also a direction to the police to release him immediately. The plea has also sought the FIR against him to be quashed.

It alleged that Goswami was assaulted by the police team that barged into his house on Wednesday. "He has been wrongly and illegally arrested in a motivated, false and closed case. This is another attempt of a political witch-hunt and vendetta politics against the petitioner and his channel," the petition said.

"The arrest was conducted in blatant violation of the fundamental rights to life and personal liberty of the petitioner (Goswami) and his dignity. The petitioner and his son were assaulted and dragged into the police van when Goswami was arrested," it added.

As per the plea, the investigation into the case was closed last year and a closure report was filed which was accepted by Chief Judicial Magistrate of the Alibaug court by an order dated April 16, 2019.

"It is shocking that a case that was decisively closed has been reopened with the sole purpose of misusing power, concocting facts and forcibly arresting the petitioner in a prime facie act of revenge and vengeance for his news coverage which questioned those in power in Maharashtra," the petition said.

The petition claimed that in May 2018, the police had recorded the statements of Goswami and two senior officials of the Republic TV and after conducting a thorough investigation, the case was closed.

"The petitioner had at that time provided detailed documents to the police in relation to the business transactions with the deceased's company and had fully cooperated in the matter," the petition said.

It also said Goswami’s company ARG Outlier Pvt Ltd had paid over 90 per cent of the amount due to the deceased Anvay Naiks company Concorde Designs, as per the contract. 

"In July 2019, the entire balance amount due was transferred to the bank account of Naik's company but the amount returned because the account was inoperative," the petition said. It said the petitioner has been fully cooperating with the police in the past and will continue doing so in future also.

With PTI inputs

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