Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging Arnab Goswami arrest by the Maharashtra Police.
Goswami has also sought an urgent interim stay on the investigation in FIR (CR. no. 59 of 2018) registered at Alibaug Police Station, accusing him of abetment to suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik.
A writ of habeas corpus was filed directing the Alibaug Police to produce him in court claiming that Arnab Goswami arrest and detention was illegal as Naik’s case was closed, directions to quash the FIR of 2018, quash the memo based on which he was arrested and immediate release from the illegal detention and wrongful custody.
A Division Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik will hear the plea today at 3 pm along with the plea challenging the accusations against Republic TV in the TRP Scam.
The 2018 case arose after Akshata Naik, wife of Anvay Naik, registered an FIR against Arnab Goswami and two others, who were all accused of abetting the suicide of Naik and his mother, directors of Concorde Designs Pvt. Ltd (CDPL). Anvay Naik had allegedly left behind a suicide note in which he supposedly stated that CDPL was in financial difficulty after Goswami and ARG Outlier (the parent company of Republic TV) allegedly owed him Rs 83 lakh.
Contentions in the Plea filed in lieu of Arnab Goswami Arrest
In response to the allegations, the petition claims that attempts to make good the payment of these dues bore no fruit, despite ARG’s best attempts. The plea reads,
“Repeated attempts were made by ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd to make the balance payment to CDPL, for full and final settlement of all claims. However, in the absence of any shareholder or director in CDPL, such attempts to make the balance payment has been infructuous. Despite multiple meetings, emails, letters and whatsapp messages reaching out to CDPL, Mrs. Akshata Naik, and Ms. Adnya Naik regarding ARG Outlier Media Pvt. Ltd’s willingness to ensure a full and final settlement, no concrete response has been received. In fact, the entire balance due was transferred to the bank account of CDPL in July 2019, but was returned because the account is inoperative.”
It is further contended that Goswami did not have any direct involvement with the deceased, and that his interaction with deceased with regard to the payments in question was strictly professional in nature. Thus, no case of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code could be made out against the Republic TV Editor, the plea states.
“It is a settled principle of law that to attract the 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…
…Moreover, for the provisions of Section 306 to be attracted, the direct involvement of by 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, IPC.”
Goswami has submitted in his plea that the FIR of 2018 was closed by the Mumbai Police in 2019 after the “A” summary report was filed and accepted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alibaug.
It was added after Arnab Goswami arrest that the case was closed after thorough investigation of the business transactions of ARG Outlier (parent company of Republic TV) and after interrogating him as well as the Chief Financial Officer and Head of Finance of the company.
After Arnab Goswami arrest, he claims that the probe was re-opened “due to vendetta and personal animosity of the political dispensation in Maharashtra and the Commission of Mumbai Police based on the circulation of the video released by wife of Anvay Naik by the State Government’s social media handles.”
The vendetta of the state government had become obvious after the Maharashtra Assembly recently initiated breach of privilege proceedings against Goswami, the petition claims after Arnab Goswami arrest.
“No wonder, the Home Minister assures the House that matter will be thoroughly investigated.”
Goswami also submitted that he and his family members were physically assaulted by the Mumbai Police prior to Arnab Goswami arrest. This, he claims, amounted to a blatant violation of his right to liberty and dignity.
He also asserted that “an arrest at this stage, where there is no material or evidence available to make out a case under Section 306, IPC against the Petitioner, is likely to humiliate and malign the reputation and goodwill of the Petitioner.”
Goswami has assured the Court that he is willing to co-operate with the police in the course of the investigation. Being a well-known public figure, he cannot flee anywhere from justice.
The plea was mentioned before the Bombay High Court on Wednesday for urgent listing after Arnab Goswami arrest.
Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani along with Advocate Ravi Sharma from Phoenix Legal and Advocate Gunjan Mangla will represent Goswami after Arnab Goswami arrest.