Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami appeared for questioning in a case against him for allegedly defaming Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday, a day after the Mumbai Police served two notices to the journalist. He claimed he was questioned for over 12 hours.
In a statement on Sunday, Goswami had said: “The Mumbai Police has sent me two notices in the last 12 hours saying they want to immediately interrogate me regarding my comments on Sonia Gandhi. As a law abiding citizen I will cooperate with the investigation, subject myself to interrogation tomorrow [Monday] morning.”
This came after the Supreme Court on Friday set aside Goswami’s plea that all cases of hate speech against him be quashed. The court allowed the Maharashtra Police to proceed with investigations into one of the FIRs filed, but stayed the other FIRs filed against him in six states.
The first information report by Congress minister Nitin Raut was initially filed in Nagpur, but the Supreme Court transferred the matter to Mumbai. The court also said no coercive action should be taken against Goswami for the next three weeks, so he has time to apply for anticipatory bail.
Raut has accused Goswami of trying to provoke people by making use of “indecent language”, according to ANI. “Using derogatory language against someone is not acceptable,” he said. “He [Goswami] also tried to insult Gandhi.”
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.”
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. In his statement on Sunday, Goswami asked the Mumbai Police to show “similar alacrity and sense of immediacy” to investigate the attack.