Arrest Seems ‘Illegal’: Why Court Sent Arnab to Judicial Custody
The court had sent Arnab Goswami to 14-day judicial custody on Wednesday, 4 November.
The Alibag court had observed that there are enough reasons to suggest that the arrest of Arnab Goswami and two others, in connection with the suicide of Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik, warrants legal scrutiny.
The court made this observation while rejecting police custody and sending Goswami to 14-day judicial custody, citing ‘lack of evidence’ against him.
The Republic TV founder and editor-in-chief had been arrested earlier in the day in connection with the abetment of suicide case against him being probed by the Maharashtra Police.
The local police force from Raigad had sought 14 days’ police remand, on the basis that they needed to question Goswami, and he needed to be kept in custody as he is an ‘influential person’ who might try to alter the investigation.
Reasons Given by Court to Reject Police Custody
While passing its order, the Alibag court said, "Due scrutiny of all submitted documents suggest that the connection with the accused and the deceased and the relation between the two suicides need to be clearly established clearly before demanding for police custody.”
The court further said, "How was the previous investigation incomplete? What were the shortcomings in it? There is no substantial evidence or reason provided to establish these claims. Hence, police custody of the three accused cannot be approved."
“Any kind of hindrance by the accused in the investigation or the authenticity of the suicide note is yet to be proved. The suicide note of the deceased is yet to be established as solid and substantial proof. Hence, the arguments of the accusers on the basis of the suicide note cannot be considered enough,” noted the court.
“In order to grant police custody, some strong evidence needs to be established. The line of questioning that the police wishes to do after getting the custody needs to be first substantiated with enough evidence to do so,” said the court.
What’s the Case About?
Goswami, along with two others, Niteish Sarda (Smartworks, owed Rs 55 lakh) and Feroz Shaikh (IcastX/Skimedia, owed Rs 4 crore), have been booked under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide), and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The suicide note of interior designer/architect Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik, discovered by the local police in 2018, Naik said that he and his mother were in acute financial distress, which was why they had decided to take their lives.
According to the note, their financial troubles had been caused because large payments owed to his company Concorde Designs Pvt Ltd, had not been paid by three clients, including Arnab Goswami/Republic TV.
The amount owed is said to be Rs 83 lakh.
Case Closed, Resurfaced
The case resurfaced after Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh ordered the case to be reopened in May 2020, following an approach by Naik’s daughter Adnya.
The Raigad police had previously filed a report to close the case in April 2019, which had been accepted by a judicial magistrate on 16 April 2019.
Naik’s wife Akshata – who had filed an FIR with the police back in 2018 itself – consistently pushed for the case to be reinvestigated, putting out several videos about the matter on social media.
Goswami and Republic have denied the allegations, and claimed that 90 percent of the amount due to Naik’s company for its work on the channel’s Mumbai studio had been paid as per the contract.
(If you feel suicidal or know someone in distress, please reach out to them with kindness and call these numbers of local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs.)
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