Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on Thursday filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking that no coercive action should be taken on the first information reports filed against him in various states for allegedly defaming Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah will hear the case on Friday at 10.30 am.
Goswami had launched a full-blown attack on Gandhi and claimed that she had orchestrated the Palghar lynching in Maharashtra. Three Mumbai residents, who were on their way to Silvassa on April 16, were lynched by local residents in Gadakchinchale village of Palghar district on the suspicion that they were thieves. The men who were lynched were reportedly Hindu religious leaders.
The Republic TV anchor had questioned Gandhi’s silence on the incident and made some provocative allegations. “Would Sonia Gandhi have been quiet if Muslim preachers or Christian saints had been killed instead of Hindu sants?” Goswami had asked on his show. “She’s quiet today, but I think she feels happy that Hindu sants were killed in a state where Congress has a stake in the government. She will send a report to Italy about the fact that she is getting Hindu sants killed in Maharashtra.”
At least 16 complaints were filed against Goswami in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh. He sought a stay on any action that may be taken against him, adding that the FIRs and complaints were filed across various states and the petitioner would be unable to be present in multiple courts and police stations in the matter.
After several people tried to give the incident a communal angle, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday shared the list of 101 people taken into custody in connection with the lynching, and said none of those arrested were Muslim.
In his petition, Goswami also invoked freedom of the press and said that the registration of FIRs and filing of such complaints against him is tantamount to muzzling of the media.
Earlier on Thursday, Goswami had accused the Congress of attacking him and his wife Samyabrata Ray when they were returning home from work. The Mumbai Police made arrests in connection with the attack.