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Arnab vs Antonia: SC questions Kapil Sibal on hundreds of FIRs that have the same wording, Congress leader concedes photocopies being used

One of the many FIRs against him was filed by the Raza Academy, which was being represented by Kapil Sibal, the senior leader of the Congress party.

The Congress party has gone all out in its pursuit against Republic TV Chief Editor Arnab Goswami. They have left no stone unturned in their bid to exact revenge upon the journalist for having the courage to risk offending Antonia Maino aka Sonia Gandhi. Numerous FIRs were filed across the country against Arnab Goswami for his reportage on the Palghar mob lynching of Sadhus, where policemen of Maharashtra abdicated their responsibility of protecting innocent citizens and practically handed over the Sadhus to the mob which thrashed them to death. One of the many FIRs against him was filed by the Raza Academy, which was being represented by Kapil Sibal, the senior leader of the Congress party.

During the hearing of a plea filed by Arnab Goswami requesting that all FIRs registered against him be quashed, the Supreme Court took a stern view against the Congress party for the exact same wording being used in almost all the FIRs against the journalist. Justice Shah asked Kapil Sibal why it was that hundreds of FIRs filed against Arnab Goswami in the Palghar case in Congress states had the exact same wording. The Congress leader was left embarrassed and was forced to concede the point of photocopied FIRs.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta slammed the Mumbai Police under the Maharashtra government and said, “My take on this matter, this is a case where the way in which state police has acted is undesirable, in a matter of this nature and impact in the possible outcome of the investigation. This is a first case where the police comes and says please insulate us, the accused says I don’t have faith.” He emphasised on the need of an independent investigation “handled by an independent agency that does not need any insulation and the accused is also unable to say that he is being harassed.”

Vendetta against Arnab Goswami

Harish Salve, representing Arnab Goswami, said that it was a case where one political party was targeting a journalist, adding that all the complainants are members of one political party which has a problem with the central government, and ‘they want to teach this journalist a lesson’. Salve told the Bench that the Congress party is ‘trying to stifle an unpleasant voice, there’s no doubt left that it’s all about Arnab. The real purpose is to teach a journalist a lesson by asking very silly questions during the investigation in the case. The whole thing is to teach Arnab and his profession a lesson, just to show that what we are doing is wrong according to them’.

During the hearing, Kapil Sibal equated “making allegations against Congress” as “communal”. When Harish Salve said that the Maharashtra Government should have no problems with transferring the case to the CBI, the Congress leader said that transferring the case to CBI would mean that the “Investigation will go into your hands”. What that statement would mean is that Kapil Sibal wants Arnab Goswami to be “investigated” by the Congress party or agencies that Congress parties can control unquestionably. Harish Salve went on to say that the comment by Kapil Sibal proved that this investigation into Arnab was politically motivated since he wants ‘his people” to investigate Arnab.

Policeman tests positive for Coronavirus

One of the policemen who interrogated Arnab Goswami for over twelve hours in April last week has now tested positive for coronavirus, senior advocate Harish Salve informed the Supreme Court while arguing for the Republic TV chief seeking quashing of the fresh FIR against him. On April 27, 2020, Arnab Goswami was questioned by Mumbai Police for over 12 hours for questioning Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi’s silence over Palghar Sadhu lynching. He was questioned after the Congress party filed more than 150 FIRs against him in various states of the country. The Supreme Court had merged all the FIRs into one and transferred to Mumbai. A week later, a fresh FIR was filed by Raza Academy.

Over the Palghar incident, Arnab, during the hearing on quashing of FIR requested that the case be transferred to the CBI for further investigation since he has made serious allegations against the local police in Palghar incident. “It’s a union vs state problem and I have become a party to this. Of course I can go to Bombay High Court, my request is that the CBI can probe and file report,” Goswami said in the court.

The Raza Academy: Org that filed FIR against Arnab Goswami

An FIR was filed by Mumbai based Raza Academy alleging Goswami indulged in disturbing communal harmony over the gathering of migrants in Bandra near a mosque. Raza Academy had organised the August 2012 protests at Azad Maidan in Mumbai which escalated to riots. The most shocking incident of the Azad Maidan Riots was the desecration of Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial by the Muslim mobs. The war memorial is dedicated to the fighters of 1857 – the First Indian Freedom Struggle.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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