Republic TV Editor-in Chief Arnab Goswami has petitioned the Bombay High Court challenging his ”illegal arrest” in a 2018 case of abetment of suicide of an interior designer, and sought quashing of the FIR lodged against him by Alibaug police in Maharashtra. A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik will hear the plea on Thursday afternoon.
Goswami was arrested on Wednesday from his residence at Lower Parel in Mumbai for allegedly abetting the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik, and was taken to the Alibaug police station in neighbouring Raigad district. He was later produced before a magistrate’s court in Alibaug which remanded him in judicial custody till November 18.
Goswami is currently kept at a local school which has been designated as a COVID-19 centre for the Alibaug prison. In his petition, Goswami has challenged his ”illegal arrest” and sought an urgent order of stay in the investigation into the case and also a direction to the police to release him immediately.
The plea has also sought the FIR against him to be quashed. It alleged that Goswami was assaulted by the police team that barged into his house on Wednesday.
”He has been wrongly and illegally arrested in a motivated, false and closed case. This is another attempt of political witch-hunt and vendetta politics against the petitioner and his channel,” the petition said. ”The arrest was conducted in blatant violation of the fundamental rights to life and personal liberty of the petitioner (Goswami) and his dignity. The petitioner and his son were assaulted and dragged into the police van when Goswami was arrested,” it added.
As per the plea, the investigation into the case was closed last year and a closure report was filed which was accepted by Chief Judicial Magistrate of the Alibaug court by an order dated April 16, 2019. ”It is shocking that a case that was decisively closed has been reopened with the sole purpose of misusing power, concocting facts and forcibly arresting the petitioner in a prime facie act of revenge and vengeance for his news coverage which questioned those in power in Maharashtra,” the petition said.
The petition claimed that in May 2018, the police had recorded the statements of Goswami and two senior officials of the Republic TV and after conducting a thorough investigation, the case was closed. ”The petitioner had at that time provided detailed documents to the police in relation to the business transactions with the deceased’s company and had fully cooperated in the matter,” the petition said.
It also said Goswamis company ARG Outlier Pvt Ltd had paid over 90 per cent of the amount due to the deceased Anvay Naiks company Concorde Designs, as per the contract. ”In July 2019, the entire balance amount due was transferred to the bank account of Naik’s company but the amount returned because the account was inoperative,” the petition said.
It said the petitioner has been fully cooperating with the police in the past and will continue doing so in future also.