‘Arnab Browbeating Police’: Maharashtra Govt Asks SC to Step In
Application asks apex court to restrain Goswami from misusing the interim protection from arrest it granted him.
The Maharashtra government has filed an application in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai Police, alleging that Arnab Goswami is ‘hampering the investigation’ against him by trying to ‘browbeat’ the police through his shows on Republic TV channels.
The Mumbai Police is investigating the FIRs registered against the editor-in-chief of Republic, based on the complaints that he ‘incited communal hatred’ during his show on Republic Bharat, when he drew connections between the Palghar lynching incident and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
On 24 April, the Supreme Court granted Arnab protection from arrest for three weeks and stayed all FIRs against him in other states dealing with the same issue.
In their application to the apex court, the Maharashtra government has said that Goswami has used Republic's Twitter handles to claim the police are biased against him, and used his show 'Puchta Hai Bharat' to make false claims of corruption against the Deputy Commissioner, including that he was involved in a scam related to Indiabulls.
The government's application also alleges that, on the day Goswami went to the police station for questioning, he used his media team to create trouble, and threw his weight around in the police station.
“The petitioner had gone on air narrating his story and also carried his entourage of reporters, cameraman etc inside the police station, where he virtually commanded the police to do certain certain things and act in a certain way, as propounded by him. Ever since the occurrence and registration of case, the petitioner has made a media spectacle of the entire incident at every stage.”Maharashtra Government Application in Supreme Court
The application argues that Goswami is misusing his position as a journalist and editor of Republic with the aim of "browbeating, terrorising and intimidating the Investigating Officer".
On this basis, the Maharashtra government has asked the Supreme Court to restrain Arnab from abusing the interim protection given to him by the court, and issue appropriate directions to "insulate the investigation from any pressure, threat or coercion" from him, so that the investigation can be carried out fairly and transparently.
On Saturday, 2 May, a fresh FIR was registered by the Mumbai Police against Goswami based on a complaint that he incited communal hatred on his show regarding the large gathering of migrant workers at Bandra, Mumbai, on 14 April, by allegedly linking it to the mosque in the area.
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