On Sunday, police shifted Arnab Goswami to Taloja Central Jail in Mumbai from Alibaug Government School where he had been under judicial custody. During the shift, Arnab claimed that there was a threat to his life and that he had been assaulted. “My life is under threat. I am not being allowed to speak to my lawyers. I was pushed and assaulted this morning. They woke me up at 6 in the morning and they said they won’t let me speak to my lawyers,” Arnab shouted as he was being transferred. The police alleged that shift was due to Arnab using mobile phone while under judicial custody.
On November 4, Maharashtra’s Raigud police had arrested the Republic TV Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief on a 2018 abetment to suicide case pertaining to interior designer Anvay Naik. The case has been ongoing for a few days and no relief has been given to Arnab. The Chief Judicial Magistrate had put him under 14 days judicial custody, and the Raigad police have challenged it at the Raigad Magistrate to get him into police custody. The Magistrate will hear pleas on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court had heard both parties in regards to his interim bail plea and the division bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik has reserved its judgement for Monday. The bench had held a special sitting on Saturday and heard arguments for three hours. Appearing for Arnab and two others, senior advocate Harish Salve submitted that the arrest was politically motivated and that the Maharashtra government was acting with malice. This was during the Habeas Corpus plea hearing filed with the High Court against the Magistrate’s judicial remand.
The abetment to suicide case was reopened after Anvay Naik’s wife Akshata Naik had realised very late that the case had been closed. In the initial investigation, the Alibaug police submitted ‘A Summary’ report, which means that the case had no sufficient evidence to proceed. Protocol wise, the report had to reach the complainant and they had to sign it but no such procedure was initiated by the Magistrate. While the case closed in 2019, the family realised that only in 2020. They had to file RTIs to receive a copy of the report, and soon after, they pleaded with the Home Ministry to reopen the case. Senior advocate Shirish Gupte, who appeared for the complainants, explained the events to the High Court.
He also argued that bail to Arnab Goswami would harm the victims. While explaining that the original investigation was carried out in a “miserable and high-handed fashion”, he added, “To release the man (Arnab Goswami) right now when the investigation is pending is an injustice to the victim. Have we thought of what harm has been caused to this family?” Gupte said that the family had been receiving threatening calls and intimidating messages after they had started the process to reopen the case.
However, the bench clarified that the pendency of the case in the High Court will not stop the petitioners from seeking regular bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before the concerned court. If such an application is made then the same should be decided by the concerned court within four days.