Arnab Goswami Case : Bombay High Court issues notice in Arnab Goswami plea challenging arrest in abetment to suicide case

The Court refused to grant Goswami interim relief without hearing the parties in the matter.

The Bombay High Court today issued notice in the habeas corpus plea filed by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in light of his arrest in connection with a 2018 abetment to suicide case.

The matter was heard by a Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik.

Appearing for Goswami before the High Court, Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda stated that he wanted to press only for interim reliefs, which includes a stay on the investigation into the FIR filed in 2018.

The Court responded that it was not inclined to grant relief until notice was issued to the respondents. When the Court expressed its inclination to issue notice in the matter, Ponda asked for “seven minutes” to show why interim relief was required to be granted.

He claimed that the police had started the investigation into the 2018 case by itself, without a judicial order.

When the Bench once again said that it wanted to hear the other side, Ponda said,

“Milord may keep it tomorrow, but every day the detention just keeps getting illegal…The complainant is trying to resurrect a closed case. I withdrew the bail application in Alibaug court, because the court said we will hear in due course.”

The Court then observed,

“There are other litigants, matters pending. We are ready to examine, but we have to keep in mind that we have not issued notice, respondents should get opportunity to reply.”

Senior Advocate Harish Salve then sought to supplement the arguments made by Ponda. He said,

“Will heavens fall on Maharashtra if he (Goswami) is released on interim?”

Ponda submitted that the complainants have asked for a re-investigation, but they have admitted that the closure needs to be set aside. He added that the police have tried to revise an order of a magistrate on their own, thus acting under Section 362 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). This provision states that no court may alter or review a judgment or final order disposing of a case, except to correct a clerical or arithmetical error.

The Bench then expressed its intention to hear the informant – Akshata Naik – before granting relief. It thus granted leave to Ponda to amend the petition and implead the informant in his plea.

The Court ultimately issued notice to all parties and asked them exchange their pleadings. The matter will be heard tomorrow at 3 pm.

In his plea filed before the Bombay High Court, Arnab Goswami has 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.

The 2018 case arose after Akshata Naik, wife of Anvay Naik, registered an FIR against 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.

Goswami has also stated 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.

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 journalist further claimed that he and his family members were physically assaulted by the Mumbai Police prior to his arrest. This, he claims, amounted to a blatant violation of his right to liberty and dignity.

Goswami was arrested by the Maharashtra Police in the early hours of November 4 for his alleged involvement in the 2018 suicide abetment case.

He was subsequently remanded to two weeks of judicial custody by a Mumbai Court

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