In the early hours of Wednesday, 4th of November, the country woke up to the editor-in-chief of the largest news network in the country being dragged, beaten, and arrested by the Alibaug and Mumbai Police for a 2018 case that had already been closed. After the 12-minute chilling video where the police were seen forcing Arnab to leave his house early in the morning, Arnab Goswami was taken to Alibaug police station, that comes under the Konkan Range, Raigad, where after hours of his arrest, the police produced him in court.
The Magistrate court hearing Arnab Goswami’s case made some rather scathing comments while granting 14 day judicial custody. The police were pushing for Arnab’s police custody and the refusal of the court to grant police custody, was seen as a big win for Arnab Goswami.
The court made the following 3 observations:
- The 2018 suicide case was opened by the police without sanction from the court.
- Chief Judicial Magistrate observed that there was no connection in the chain of suicide in the case in which Arnab was arrested, which was earlier closed in 2018 and now reopened, and Arnab Goswami’s role.
- The CJM also observed that there is no ‘justifiable ground’ for the police custody sought as he pronounced the judgment.
While his lawyers have already moved court for Arnab Goswami’s bail and the High Court is to hear a petition to quash the 2018 FIR today at 3:00 PM, the court’s observations were scathing and pointed towards the high-handedness and vindictiveness of the police.
Interestingly, while seeking remand of Goswami and the others, police said that during the latest investigation it was found that there were loopholes in the investigation carried out in 2018-2019 to benefit the accused. Further, police said that the deputy inspector general of police, Konkan Range, had ordered a departmental enquiry against the then Investigation Officer S H Varhadkar, who was then a police inspector at Alibaug police station.
Police high-handedness as far as the Mumbai Police is concerned is not really new or shocking. The current Commissioner of Mumbai Police, Parambir Singh, was accused of dereliction of duty during the 26/11 terror attack and has been directly accused of torturing Sadhvi Pragya in the fake ‘Hindu terror’ case. Encounter specialist Sachin Vaze, who was seen in the 12-minute video arresting Arnab Goswami in his own house, was dismissed from the police force after being accused in a custodial death case. After his dismissal, he had joined the Shiv Sena, the current ruling party of Maharashtra and was all set to become a politician. However, magically, earlier in 2020 he was reinstated in the police force after Parambir Singh felt that they needed more police officers to fight the COVID pandemic.
While all of this points towards a troubling trend, there is another interesting fact about the Konkan range, Raigad, where Arnab Goswami was taken for custody.
The Sheena Bora murder case
One of the most shocking murder mysteries of recent times has been the Sheena Bora case. Four years after Sheena Bora mysteriously ‘disappeared’, Indrani Mukerjea, her mother who made everyone believe she was her sister, was arrested for her murder.
On 24 April 2012, Sheena took leave of absence from Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, the company that runs Mumbai Metro through an e-mail. Indrani is former CEO of INX Media. Soon after her ‘leave of absence’, she ‘resigned’ via email. She was in a relationship with Rahul Mukerjea, son of Indrani Mukerjea’s husband, Peter Mukerjea. Indrani, who was her mother in reality but told everyone she was Sheena’s sister, did not approve of the relationship. Peter is the former CEO of STAR India.
Sheena was never seen by anyone after 24th April. She was believed to have been killed the same night itself. Indrani had reportedly teamed up with her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna killed her. Prior to her murder, Indrani had reportedly carried out a recce of location site where the body would be dumped. After killing Sheena, Indrani reportedly the body to their home in Worli where it was stuffed inside a suitcase. Next day, Sheena’s body was taken out, propped up as passenger and taken to Raigad near Mumbai.
There, she was again stuffed into a bag. The bag was then set on fire.
On May 23, 2012, villagers of Pen Tehsil, Raigad complained of foul odour and found a body. There was no identification mark and no one linked it to Sheena Bora.
Three years later, when Indrani’s driver, Shyamvar Rai, was arrested in some other case, the details of Sheena Bora murder case emerged. Rai has since then turned approver.
The link to Konkan Range where Arnab Goswami was taken after being arrested: Param Bir Singh knew Sheena Bora was missing
As per reports, when Sheena went ‘missing’ on 24th April 2012, Rahul Mukerjea, her boyfriend and Indrani’s stepson had reached out to Param Bir Singh. Singh was then Inspector General of Police and he had reportedly asked Rahul to file a missing person report. Interestingly, a missing person report was never filed for Sheena.
Param Bir Singh was also the Inspector General of the Konkan Range when Sheena’s body was dumped in Raigad.
Fears for well-being of Arnab Goswami after his arrest
Several people were extremely worried for the well-being of Arnab Goswami after he was arrested by the Alibaug and Mumbai Police. After the video of him being dragged from his home surfaced, Arnab Goswami’s wife had alleged that the police had held Arnab Goswami from the scruff of his neck and even pulled his hair. Further, she had alleged that the police had also beaten up Arnab Goswami’s teenager son during the process of arresting him.
After the arrest, when Arnab Goswami was seen in the police van on his way to the court, he held up his hand and showed to the cameras the injury mark on his hand. Giving a brief sound byte to the media, he said that he was beaten and tortured by the police while he was in custody.
With such visuals and the now famous feud between Parambir Singh, Sachin Vaze and Arnab Goswami, fears were strife about his safety had the court granted police custody of Arnab Goswami.
Hounding of Republic TV by Mumbai Police
In an interview given to the Editor of OpIndia Hindi, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar had criticised the action of Mumbai police against Republic TV. “What Mumbai Police is doing, no one will endorse this”, the Minister said. Mumbai police had falsely implicated Republic TV in the TRP scam on the basis of an FIR naming India Today. The police had also reportedly coerced witnesses into naming Republic TV in the TRP scam. Mumbai police had also sought details of all financial transactions of the channel ever since its inception. Now, the Mumbai police has opened another front against Arnab Goswami, which is the 2018 suicide case which was closed back then.