Saturday, October 23, 2021

No interim relief for Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami; stays in jail for now

No interim relief will be given to Republic TV promoter Arnab Goswami in connection with his arrest in a 2018 abetment to suicide case concerning an architect and his mother, the Bombay High Court said on Thursday evening.

Saying it wanted to hear the matter “in detail”, the two-member bench denied Goswami’s request for interim bail and set the next hearing for 3 PM Friday. Goswami will have to stay in jail for at least another day.

Goswami was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning from his Mumbai home and sent to 14-day judicial custody; the court had turned down a request for police custody.

Arnab Goswami had filed a habeas corpus petition after his “illegal” arrest on Wednesday, seeking the court to quash the case against him and revoke his arrest; this was after the case closed by earlier governments was re-opened following appeals from architect Anvay Naik’s family.

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Senior lawyers Harish Salve and Abad Ponda argued that the re-opening of the case and Goswami’s arrest were both “illegal” as neither had the sanction of a court or magistrate.

Salve, appearing for Goswami, argued there were several cases against the journalist by virtue of his profession and asked: “Please release this man as an ad-interim measure and hear the case in detail later. Will heavens fall in Maharashtra if he is released on interim bail?” However, the court said it was not inclined to grant relief of any kind till it had heard all parties.

“Can’t pass interim order without hearing Complaint and State,” a bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik said, as it issued notices to the State and Adnya Naik (Mr Naik’s daughter).

Appropriate orders will be passed on Friday after hearing both parties, the court said, noting that it would also hear a petition filed by Naik’s family.

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The case dates back to 2018, when Anvay Naik and his mother died by suicide. Goswami and two others were named in a suicide note but the police closed the case citing lack of evidence.

However, on Wednesday all three were arrested by Mumbai police following re-opening of the case after informing the court. Goswami’s lawyer, Mr Ponda, argued that merely informing the court and a “seen and filed” comment did not amount to sanction to re-open the investigation.

The court also dismissed Goswami’s charge that he had been physically assaulted while being arrested, an allegation he made several times in the day.

A 13-minute video shot during the arrest shows policemen pleading with Goswami to cooperate as he says he has been assaulted. Eventually the policemen drag him away.

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