Just days after the Supreme Court of India had said that the abetment suicide case against Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami is prima facie not established, the Raigad police filed a charge sheet against Goswami and two others in the case yesterday. Importantly, it was filed hurriedly just before the Bombay High Court is scheduled to start hearing Arnab’s plea seeking to quash the against him. The HC will start hearing the matter on 10th December.
The charge sheet repeats the allegations made by Anvay Naik’s wife, that Goswami and two others deliberately withheld payments to Naik’s despite completing all work. It is notable that these allegations contradict the evidence produced in the case, where the three clients of Naik’s company had written letters to him informing that some payments were withheld due to defects/incompletion of allotted works.
Charge sheet says Anvay Naik had killed his mother
The charge sheet mentions another important point, which has not discussed much in this high-profile case, that Anvay Naik had killed his mother before committing suicide. The charge sheet that Naik had decided to end his life after not getting payments from his clients. It says that as his mother Kumud Naik was a partner in his company, he thought that his mother will face troubles after he commits suicide. Hence, he had called his mother to the farmhouse where they were found dead. There, Anvay Naik tied his mother, and strangulated her with his both hands, according to the charge sheet. It says that after killing his mother, he wrote a suicide note naming Arnab Goswami, Firoz Sheikh and Nitesh Sarda. After that, he killed himself by hanging from the roof.
Disregarding the Supreme Court observation that mere non payment of due amount can’t be abetment of suicide unless the accused played any direct role, the charge sheet says that Arnab Goswami and the two others are held responsible to the death of Anvay Naik either directly or indirectly.
Arnab Goswami files plea against Charge Sheet
A day after the Raigad police filed the charge sheet against Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami and two others in the alleged abetment of suicide case of Anvay Naik, Goswami moved court requesting to not take cognizance of the same. Alleging that the entire case reeks with malafide on the party of the state govt, he filed the interim plea with Bombay High Court, seeking issue of direction to the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Raigad-Alibaug to not consider the charge sheet.
The journalist has also urged the Court to stay all further proceedings, including investigation in the matter. Arnab Goswami via his legal counsels submitted a strong and detailed Interim Application regarding the politically-driven Chargesheet filed against him at a time when his own applications were in pendency with the Bombay High Court and the same were served on the state government.
The petition highlights the press conference held by Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on 29th November, when the minister had publicly declared that a “strong chargesheet” would be filed against Arnab Goswami “soon”. The declaration came after the Supreme Court had observed that the FIR filed in the case is frivolous as the charge of abatement of suicide is not established by the FIR.
Goswami’s plea contends that “the Home Minister of Maharashtra was not only prejudging and publicly guiding the investigation in the case, but was also putting a timeline of progression to the case. It is thus clear that the entire investigation in the case is being puppeteered by a political machinery and is tainted and prescripted by the executive powers at play of the Respondents.”
Arnab Goswami has alleged that case is a malicious vendetta-driven action scripted by the Maharashtra Government and executed by Maharashtra Police in the Anaya Naik suicide case, which is now before the Bombay High Court. Apart from submitting elaborate details of the established malice guiding the political Chargesheet, Arnab Goswami’s application highlights the fact that the state government was already served an application and was fully aware of the matter pending in High Court while filing the charge sheet.
After filing the plea, a statement issued by Republic TV has said that the Maharashtra Government has shot itself in the foot by filing a chargesheet in a case where the top court scrutinised the matter and found no cause of action. “There is no scope for the State machinery to get away with this campaign of malice anymore. The judiciary is watching. And, the nation is taking note”, it said.
In the interim application before the Bombay High Court today, Arnab Goswami has submitted that there is a fresh cause of action owing to the events given the continued political witch-hunt by the Maharashtra State machinery and the wrongful and illegal filing of the charge sheet at the instance of the Home Minister while the matter was listed to be heard on 7 December.
The interim states that “the chargesheet came to be filed deliberately despite the said IA pending circulation and hearing.” Elaborating on the malice of the Maharashtra govt, it says, “The said IA in good faith was served upon the Respondent No 1 on 4th December, 2020 at 11:18 am. Shockingly, despite these applications being filed and served the Respondent No 2 filed a chargesheet in the case. The state after being served a copy of the said IA and being fully aware of the pendency of the matter, and further knowing that this Hon’ble Court was to decide a date on the matter as mischievously and maliciously filed a chargesheet disregarding the due process of law. This exposes the deep-rooted malafide intent with which the Respondents are functioning.”
The petition further adds, “While being fully aware that the matter is in pendency of the Bombay High Court, in order to deliberately maliciously obfuscate the case filed before the court, the state police shockingly tried to manipulate the due process of law by filing a chargesheet less than 12 hours, of being served a copy of our praecipe proves the malafide, malicious capricious and intent of the state government of Maharashtra.”
Arnab Goswami also alleged that the Maharashtra govt has violated the observations of the apex court of the county. “In an utter violation of the observations of the highest court of the country about how no prima facie case has been established, within 8 days of the SC judgment, a chargesheet was hurriedly filed. The top court had said, “a prima facie evaluation of the FIR does not establish the ingredients of the offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC”. Republic TV said that the state government stands exposed on how the chargesheet is bereft of fact and a pure product of malice.
The interim application by Arnab Goswami is scathing as it speaks of how exactly 7 days after the declaration of the Home Minister of Maharashtra that a strong Chargesheet will be filed, the police followed the politically dictated script”. It says that “the direction of the investigation, the nature of accusations and the filing of a charge sheet are a result of political instruction and not a fair & impartial investigation as is mandated by the rule of law.”