The Bombay High Court on Friday did not provide immediate relief to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, who is seeking interim bail after being arrested in a 2018 abetment of suicide case. The court said it would continue the hearing on the interim bail petition on Saturday, reported Bar & Bench.
The bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik heard arguments from Goswami’s lawyers Harish Salve and Aabad Ponda and said that it would hear the case again on Saturday at 12 pm. Goswami has filed a habeas corpus petition alleging that his arrest was “illegal” and sought to quash the 2018 FIR, on the basis of which he was arrested.
On Wednesday, a Chief Judicial Magistrate in Alibag, Sunayna Pingale had rejected a plea for his police custody and remanded him in 14 days’ judicial custody in the case against him and two others. Following this, the journalist was refused interim bail by the Bombay High Court on Thursday.
Goswami and two other people – Feroz Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda – are alleged to have failed to pay money they owed to an interior designer named Anvay Naik, managing director of Concorde Designs Private Limited. Naik and his mother were found dead in their home in Kavir village near Mumbai in 2018. A suicide note said that the Goswami, Shaikh and Sarda had not paid dues amounting to Rs 5.4 crore.
Advocate Harish Salve on Friday argued that the remand order passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate of Alibag pointed out that Goswami’s arrest “appears to be illegal”, according to Live Law. He also submitted that there was no personal relationship between Goswami and the deceased and that there existed only commercial transaction between the two.
“You have commercial disputes with different people for over two years. You don’t file a suit. You have creditors beating at your door. You kill yourself. There cannot be FIR for abetment to suicide for this,” Salve said.
Salve also said that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and others had a discussion in the state Assembly on Goswami’s journalism, following which Deshmukh said that “necessary orders will be issued to police”. Citing details of this discussion, Salve argued that the state was acting out of malice against Goswami.
He also referred to the Television Ratings Points scam and said there was “a clear pattern” in the way the state government was acting against Goswami and his channel Republic TV.
Meanwhile, ratings agency Hansa Research Group on Friday moved the Bombay High Court seeking transfer of the probe into the TRP scam from the Mumbai Police Crime Branch to the Central Bureau of Investigation citing harassment faced by its employees to make false statements against Republic TV, reported Bar & Bench.
Salve mentioned this development too in order to argue his case against the state government.