Arnab Goswami moves Bombay HC to challenge arrest by Mumbai Police

Raigad Local Crime Branch files revision petition at the Alibag district court

November 05, 2020 09:25 pm | Updated November 06, 2020 12:04 am IST - Mumbai

Arnab Goswami. File

Arnab Goswami. File

Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami withdrew his bail plea before an Alibag court on Thursday, moved the Bombay High Court challenging his arrest by the Mumbai Police, and sought the quashing of the FIR against him in the 2018 abetment of suicide case.

Also read: Union Ministers come out in support of Arnab Goswami after his arrest

A Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and M.S. Karnik was hearing a petition filed by Mr. Goswami, currently in judicial custody, whether a habeas corpus should be issued directing authorities to produce him as he has been wrongfully detained and sought quashing of the FIR against him under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Senior advocate Aabad Ponda, representing Mr. Goswami, argued that the police have ignored the closure report, and without any judicial interference re-opened the case on its own. He said it was a “dead case and the arrest is illegal”, therefore Mr. Goswami should be granted interim bail as “every second is important”.

The court kept interrupting Mr. Ponda and saying that the matter could not be heard unless the complainant was heard. The petition by the original complainant was listed for Thursday. “That also needs to be heard,” the court said. The Bench also told Mr. Ponda to challenge the order of the Alibag court.

Mr. Ponda then said, “The informant never went to a court of law seeking reinvestigation after the closure. It is the police who suo moto revived the case.” After senior advocate Harish Salve agreed to amend his petition to implead the complainant in the case, the Bench directed the same to be done and adjourned the matter to be heard on November 6 at 3 p.m.

Also read: Law will take its own course, says Congress

The petition mentioned, “It is shocking that a case that was decisively closed has been reopened with the sole purpose of misusing power, concocting facts and forcefully arresting the Petitioner in a prima facie act of revenge and vengeance for his news coverage which questioned those in power in the State of Maharashtra.”

Mr. Goswami was arrested on November 4 from his residence in Mumbai for allegedly abeting the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik, directors of Concorde Designs Private Limited, for not paying ₹83 lakh for the “Bombay Dyeing studio project”.

Revision petition filed

The Raigad Local Crime Branch has filed a revision petition at the Alibag district court challenging the order of refusal to grant police custody of Arnab Goswami and two others by the magistrate court. The Alibag magistrate court on Wednesday observed that there was nothing seized from the accused and there was nothing more to be recovered. The court also said that the background of the chain linking Mr. Goswami and the two others to the incident has not been established.

Also read: Arnab Goswami arrest triggers verbal clash between BJP, Sena

“A Summary” report was accepted as there was no evidence of the crime. While the report of “A Summary” is still in existence, there was no compelling and legal reason to support the police custody of the accused for re-investigation of the case, the court said. The court further observed that no strong reason or evidence had been presented by the prosecution to explain how incomplete the earlier investigation had been, what the errors in it were, and therefore, the police custody of the three accused could not be supported.

“We filed the revision petition challenging the order. We have been following all the legal formalities. The Sessions Court has heard our arguments and now the next date [of hearing] is on November 7, when the court will hear the Opposite Party and then give an order,” a police officer privy to the investigations said.

Meanwhile, the watching advocate of the complainant, Vilas Naik, claims that it was the lack of proper planning and inefficiency on part of the Raigad Police and their prosecutor which led to the denial of police custody. “Police prosecutor received the case papers at the last moment. There was a shortage of time to study the case properly. If the police had anyway planned to make the arrest, they could beforehand get the case papers ready for the prosecutor. The police needs to hire a Special Prosecutor in the case because the accused party would hire the seniormost counsels. Being a watching advocate, I can only be a spectator and not put forward the points unless I am directed to do so. There were many points which could be highlighted in order to get the police custody but the police clearly failed to explain the same to the court,” Advocate Naik said.

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