The Mumbai Police on Wednesday evening filed a fresh first information report against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami for allegedly assaulting a female officer during his arrest in a two-year-old abetment to suicide case, ANI reported. Earlier in the day, the police entered Goswami’s residence to take him into custody and videos showed him being pushed into their van.
Goswami has been charged under Sections 353, 504, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code in the FIR, according to the Hindustan Times. These sections deal with charges such as assault of a public servant, breaking public peace and criminal intimidation.
The television anchor was arrested in a case related to the 2018 death of 53-year-old Anvay Naik, the managing director of Concorde Designs Private Limited. A suicide note by Naik, who was an architect and interior designer, accused Goswami and two others – Feroz Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda – of not paying dues worth Rs 5.4 crore. Naik and his mother Kumud Naik were found dead in their home in Kavir village of Alibaug.
Goswami was produced before a court in Mumbai after his arrest. His lawyer Gaurav Parker claimed that the anchor was assaulted by two police officials who went to arrest him, adding that his family members were also pushed around. “There are abrasions on his left hand and an existing injury on his hand was tried to be torn apart by police,” Parker said.
The lawyer also alleged that Goswami’s wife was never informed about the arrest.
Many Union ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders came out in support of Goswami, strongly criticising the police’s move to arrest him and compared it to the 19-month Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975. The Editors Guild of India, the News Broadcasters Association and the India Broadcasting Foundation also condemned the manner in which Goswami was taken into detention.
However, the Congress and its alliance partner Shiv Sena dismissed the criticism. Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said BJP’s “selective outrage” on press freedom is “shameful” and that the law will take its own course in the case against Goswami. Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena spokesperson Anil Parab also said Goswami’s arrest was in no way an attack on the freedom of press and instead questioned if the journalist was a BJP worker.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the case against Goswami was reopened after the interior designer’s wife approached a court, asking for permission for it. He said the court gave its approval and the matter is now being investigated.