“I am a news anchor and may have said things I shouldn’t say, but this is not the way to silence me,” argued Arnab’s lawyer at the sessions court.

Arnab Goswami wearing a mask and shades and standing before police officers PTI
news Court Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 18:52

The Supreme Court will hear Republic TV Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami’s plea challenging the Bombay High Court order that denied him interim bail in the 2018 abetment to suicide case on Wednesday. The SC bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee will hear Arnab’s petition after the Bombay HC had asked Arnab to move the sessions court for regular bail. 

Arguing for Arnab Goswami at the Alibag Sessions Court, senior advocate Aabad Ponda contended that the “matter is of contractual dispute which should be decided in a civil court not in a criminal court.” He also said if people begin to take their own lives in contractual dispute, there will be many suicide cases. “There was no need for arresting Arnab Goswami as he was not absconding and available for questioning. In 2018 when the FIR was registered I was called to record my statement and I remained present. At that time police chose not to arrest me and went on to file an A summary report.” he added. 

“I am a news anchor and may have said things I shouldn’t say, but this is not the way to silence me. How it can be abetment to suicide when in my mind it is a contractual dispute. How is that an instigation for suicide?” Ponda said while arguing for Arnab.

Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat  told the SC that custodial interrogation of the accused is necessary for him to be confronted with evidence. He added, “Persons who can do and undo things, such persons are supporting the accused. Considering the influential position of the accused and the political party supporting the accused, the Magistrate was duty bound to give police custody.”

The PP argued that it was a “clear cut case where the deceased writes a suicide note specifically mentioning the accused and stating that he is being driven to commit suicide. If arrest was not required, the CJM would not have given permission for police interrogation.”

The prosecutor read out the relevant parts of the Bombay HC order to point out why the defense argument that the magistrate was not informed before reinvestigation was started was rejected. 

Family members of late Anvay Naik including his wife Akshata Naik and daughter Adnya Naik were present in the courtroom when the prosecution was making its final submissions to the court. 

A Bombay HC division bench had ruled that Arnab can apply for regular bail from a lower court and that there is no extraordinary reason for the Bombay HC to interfere in this case. The court also refused to quash the investigation against Arnab in the abetment to suicide case and said that the plea for the same will be taken up on December 10.

The court also refused to admit Arnab’s objection against reopening of the suicide case by the Raigad Police after the same was closed on 16/04/2019. The court further observed that reopening of the case "cannot be said to be irregular or illegal by any stretch of imagination. The victim’s rights are equally important like the rights of the accused."

Arnab was arrested from his Mumbai residence on November 4 in relation to the 2018 suicide of architect-interior designer Anvay Naik and the death of his mother over alleged non-payment of dues by companies of the accused. The Republic TV Editor-in-chief was lodged in Alibaug Government School and was moved to Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai. 

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