After being manhandled at his residence by Raigad police cops who came to arrest him at his house yesterday in relation to a two-year old closed case, Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami has filed a plea before the Bombay High Court challenging his arrest by the police. Mumbai Police have started re-investigation in the 2018 closed case of interior designer Anvay Naik’s suicide on the direction of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
Apart from this, a fresh FIR was registered against him alleging that he had assaulted a female cop when he was being dragged out his house by Mumbai police. A similar FIR was registered against his wife, son and two others on the allegations of assaulting cops who came to arrest him.
In the plea filed by him before the Bombay High Court, Goswami said that his arrest was conducted in blatant violation of his fundamental rights to life and personal liberty and his dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. He alleged that he was forced out of his residence by around 20 officials of Mumbai police and was dragged into the vehicle and his son was also assaulted.
Earlier, Goswami was sent to a 14-day judicial custody by an Alibaug court.
Relief sought in the plea
Goswami has sought an urgent interim stay on the re-investigation in the 2018 FIR lodged at Alibaug police station in which he was accused of abetment to suicide of Naik. In his plea which is will be heard by Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik today at 3 pm, following reliefs have been sought:
- Issuance of a writ of Habeas Corpus directing Alibaug police to produce him in court claiming that his arrest and detention was illegal because the case was closed.
- Directions to quash the 2018 FIR.
- Quashing of memo based on which he was arrested.
- Immediate release from illegal detention and wrongful custody.
90 per cent payment made to interior designer’s company
Goswami has claimed in his petition that ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, the firm that owns and operates Republic TV, had paid 90% of the dues to deceased Anvay Naik’s company Concorde Designs Pvt. Ltd. (CDPL) over two years ago. He further said that ARG Outlier media Pvt Ltd made several attempts for complete and final settlement of all claims but the absence of shareholders or directors in CDPL rendered the attempts unsuccessful. He said that the entire amount due to CDPL was transferred to CDPL’s bank account in July 2019 but it was reverted because the account was inoperative.
In his plea, Goswami denied having any direct involvement with the deceased interior designer and contended that his interaction with the deceased regarding the payments was strictly professional in nature. For the reasons provided in the plea, he further contended that a case of abetment of suicide under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code was not made out against him.
“It is a settled principle of law that to attract ingredients of abetment, the intention of the accused to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide is necessary. In the present case, by no stretch of imagination can it be said that there existed an intention to aid, instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide on the part of the petitioner…”, the petition read. It was further contended in the petition, “Moreover, for the provisions of section 306 to be attached, the direct involvement of of the accused in the abetment or suicide is necessary. In the present case, the petitioner did not have any direct involvement with the abetment. Merely because a person has been named in the suicide note, one cannot jump to the conclusion that he is an offender under section 306 of the IPC”.
Case reopened due to vendetta
Arnab Goswami has alleged in his plea that the 2018 case is being reinvestigated because of vendetta and personal animosity of the political dispensation in Maharashtra, respondent Commissioner of Mumbai Police Param Bir Singh and based on a video released by Akshata Naik, wife of the deceased, the case has been reopened which was earlier closed by court on the basis of the closure report filed by the police. He said that the vendetta of the Maharashtra government became clear after a breach of privilege motion was initiated in Maharashtra Assembly against him.
He had requested the Court to direct his immediate release as not even a prima facie case has been made out against him and also keeping in view the nature of his work which is such that even one day’s absence would have a major impact on him, his news channel and its employees.
He was sent to a 14-day judicial custody by Alibaug court yesterday.