The Bombay High Court deferred hearing the petitions filed by Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami against 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 SS Shinde and MS Karnik refused to grant interim relief at this time and said that they could not grant this without hearing from the state and other respondents including the informant in the case (Anvay Naik’s wife, Akshata) which could not happen on Thursday as notice of the pleas was only served on them too late.
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.
A team of Raigad police picked up Goswami (47) from his Lower Parel house in Mumbai on Wednesday morning. He was seen being pushed into the police van, and claimed that he was assaulted by police before being taken away.
Goswami was produced in a court in Alibaug, around 90 km from Mumbai, and was remanded to judicial custody till November 18. The court ruling came shortly after 11 pm.
Mumbai police have registered an FIR against Goswami, his wife, son and two others for 'obstructing, assaulting, verbally abusing and intimidating' a police officer on duty and for tearing up 'government papers' (arrest intimation) at his house, the official said.
The FIR was registered at the NM Joshi Marg police station on Wednesday under sections 353, 504, 506 of IPC and section 3 of the Damage of Public Property Act, the official said.