Mumbai: The Bombay High Court will on Friday hear a plea filed by Republic TV Editor-in- Chief Arnab Goswami seeking interim bail in the 2018 abetment of suicide case in which he has been arrested.
The high court also directed Goswami's lawyer to make Akshata Naik, wife of deceased Anvay Naik, and the Central government as a party in the plea and serve a copy of plea to them. The high court will also hear application of Adnya Naik, daughter of deceased Anvay Naik, seeking re-investigation of A summary report filed by Police in connection with the suicide of her father.
Goswami's Counsel Harish Salve on Thursday argued that nothing will happen if applicant Goswami is allowed to go out on bail and sought an interim bail for him. Salve further sought that FIR against his client should be quashed and questioned the illegal arrest made by the police.
Abad Ponda, second lawyer of Goswami, termed re-investigation of abetment to suicide case illegal and pressed for interim relief. He further argued that commencement of new investigation after re-opening the shut case is contrary to the well settled principle of law.
A division bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and M.S. Karnik directed Goswami to make the complainant in the case, Akshata Naik, Anvay's wife, and Central government, parties in the case and said, “We have to hear all the parties concerned before considering the interim bail sought by the applicant. We have to hear the complainant who is family of the deceased. The family has also filed a petition seeking transfer of probe.”
Goswami was arrested on Wednesday from his residence at Lower Parel in Mumbai and was taken to the Alibaug police station in neighbouring Raigad district. He was produced before a magistrate's court which remanded him in judicial custody till November 18. Goswami then moved the High Court.
Ponda informed the court that a bail plea filed before the Alibaug magistrate’s court has been withdrawn. “The magistrate had not given clarity on when the bail plea would be heard and had also expressed difficulty in hearing the same as the case lies in the jurisdiction of the sessions court. Hence, we are seeking for interim bail here in high court,” he said.
The petition alleged that Goswami and his son were assaulted by the police team when it arrested the journalist in a motivated, false and closed case. This is another attempt of political witch-hunt and vendetta politics against the petitioner and his channel, it alleged.
A case that was decisively closed was reopened for forcibly arresting the petitioner “in a prima facie act of revenge and vengeance for his news coverage”, it said. It claimed that in May 2018, the police had recorded the statements of Goswami and two senior officials of Republic TV, and he had also provided documents to the police about the business transactions with Naik’s company.
Goswami’s company ARG Outlier had paid over 90 per cent of the amount due to Naik’s firm Concorde Designs as per the contract, it claimed. “In July 2019, the entire balance amount due was transferred to the bank account of Naik’s company but the amount was returned because the account was inoperative,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Alibaug police in Raigad district on Thursday filed a revision application before a sessions court challenging the order passed by the magistrate remanding Goswami and two others to judicial custody in the case.
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Sunaina Pingle had on Wednesday remanded Goswami and the two other accused in judicial custody till November 18. After hearing arguments from both sides for almost six hours, the magistrate passed an order at around 11.30pm. After perusal of the case diary and other relevant documents, the magistrate noted that the prosecution has failed to prima facie establish a link between the deceased and the accused persons.
“Taking into consideration the reasons behind the arrest of the accused persons and the arguments put forth by the accused persons, the arrest appears to be prima facie illegal,” the CJM said.
The police, in its application in the Sessions court, said the CJM court had erred in not considering the submissions and grounds submitted by the prosecution while seeking custody of Goswami and two other arrested accused Feroze Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda. The police sought the sessions court to quash the CJM order and grant them custody of the three accused.