Case Due To Political And Police Vendetta: Arnab Goswami to Bombay HC

A city court remanded Goswami to 14 days judicial custody in a 2018 abetment to suicide case registered against him.

The Bombay High Court on Thursday denied any interim relief to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami who was arrested from his Mumbai residence on Wednesday morning and remanded to judicial custody by the Alibaug court till November 18. The high court also issued notice on a plea filed by Goswami challenging his "illegal" arrest by the Maharashtra Police in connection with the 2018 death of interior designer Anvay Naik. The high court will now hear all parties connected in this matter on Friday at 3 pm.

Earlier in the day, the division bench comprising Justice SS Shinde and MS Karnik also heard a plea filed by Naik's daughter Adnya, who sought a re-investigation of the "A Summary" that was filed by the Maharashtra police which led to the closure of the case in her father's death. "A Summary" report means: Either the police does not know who the accused is, or if the accused is known, there is insufficient evidence against the said accused; OR if the magistrate rules that the case is true but remains undetected. The Raigad police, which was investigating the case had filed a report in the first instance where the alleged accused is known, but there was insufficient evidence against him.

Also Read: Arnab Goswami's Arrest: What Is The Case All About?

On November 3, Maharashtra police arrested Goswami from his Mumbai residence and produced him in an Alibaug court the same day. Declining a plea seeking police custody, the court remanded Goswami to 14 days in judicial custody. Lawyers representing Goswami mentioned the matter before the Bombay high court seeking an urgent hearing in their appeal.

In his plea, Goswami alleged the probe against him was reopened "due to vendetta and personal animosity of the political dispensation in Maharashtra and the Commissioner of Mumbai Police based on the circulation of the video released by wife of Anvay Naik by the State Government's social media handles."

Goswami also sought a stay on the FIR filed in this matter which accused him of allegedly abetting Naik and his mother Kumud's suicide. In his habeas corpus plea, he argued that since the investigation was closed in 2019 when the police filed an 'A' Summary report before the magistrate, his arrest and detention is illegal. Seeking a stay on the investigation, Goswami also sought to quash the FIR against him; the memo that was relied on for his arrest; and sought his immediate release.

Cannot make mistake and not hear parties: HC

Arguing for interim relief, Ponda argued that the police had overstepped its jurisdiction in re-investigating a case it had previously closed. The "suo motu" case by the police in re-investigating the case is illegal. An "A Summary" was filed and accepted in the Naik suicide case, Ponda argued. This was not challenged by anybody...It is still on record, he added.

The summary report before the magistrate is like "a nail in the coffin" for the investigation, Ponda said. The case is "dead" and cannot be re-instigated without "removing" the proverbial nail, he further argued. Resurrecting the case in this manner is wrong and goes against well-settled principles in law, he added. The police have overstepped jurisdiction by re-opening the case without going to the appropriate court. In effect, they have "revised" the magistrate's order which had accepted the closure report, Ponda argued.

The bench, however, refused to grant Goswami any interim relief. "We will look into the merits of your case, but all the parties must be heard," Justice Shinde told Ponda. "If we do not hear the original informant (Adnya), then we would be committing the same mistake the magistrate made when he did not hear the informant then, Justice Shinde added.

Act of revenge for news coverage questioning those in power: Goswami plea to HC

In his plea before the high court, Goswami alleged that ARG Outlier—the parent company—paid over 90% of the amounts due to the Naik. It is also an undisputed fact that case in this matter was closed, he added.

The move to arrest him is an "act of revenge and vengeance for his news coverage which questioned those in power in the state of Maharashtra," Goswami alleged. "It is shocking that a case that was decisively closed has been reopened with the sole purpose of misusing power, concocting facts and forcefully arresting the Petitioner…," he added.

Goswami said he was "assaulted" by the Maharashtra Police "and has been wrongly and illegally arrested in a motivated, false and closed case." The case against him and his channel was nothing but "another attempt of the political witch-hunt and vendetta politics", the plea read.

Referring to assembly debates in the Maharashtra State Assembly, Goswami said the "desperation of the political machinery to falsely implicate" him is evident when Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu and cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal requested state home minister Anil Deshmukh for an update in the Naik case in question. To which Deshmukh had reportedly implicated Goswami "with this alleged suicide" by stating that the reason for the suicide was because Goswami "did not pay his dues for interior decoration" of his studio.

"No wonder, the Home Minister (Deshmukh) assures the House that matter will be thoroughly investigated. This despite the fact that the investigation was closed after thorough enquiry and the order dated 16 April 2019 passed by the competent Court…" the plea said.

Updated On: 2020-11-05T18:58:43+05:30
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