STATE TIMES NEWS
Mumbai/New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday an interim bail plea of Republic TV Editor- in-Chief Arnab Goswami in an 2018 case of alleged abetment to suicide of an interior designer.
The sessions court at Alibaug in Raigad district of Maharashtra, where the criminal case has been registered, on Tuesday reserved its decision on the police’s plea challenging a magistrate’s order denying them custody of Goswami and other two accused.
Additional Sessions Judge at Alibaug, R G Malashetti said the court would pass the order on the revision application filed by local police on November 12.
It would also hear bail applications of Goswami and co-accused Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda on the same day, the court said.
Goswami was arrested on November 4 from his residence in Mumbai and taken to Alibaug in the case related to the 2018 suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and Naik’s mother.
He and the other two accused were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate who refused police’s request for custody and sent them in judicial remand till November 18.
The police have challenged the order, saying they need the accused’ custody for interrogation.
The high-profile TV journalist is lodged at Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai.
Senior advocate Aabad Ponda, appearing for Goswami, opposed the police’s appeal in the sessions court on Tuesday.
There was only a contractual dispute between Goswami’s company and Naik as the work done by Naik was not satisfactory, the lawyer said, adding that 90 per cent of the payment had been made.
It is alleged that Naik took his own life due to the non-payment of dues by the firms of the three accused.
“This matter is of contractual dispute which should be decided in a civil court, not in a criminal court,” Ponda said.
Goswami had given a statement to the police in 2018 and the police then closed the case, he said.
Goswami is a news anchor and this was not the way to silence him for the things he may have said against the Maharashtra government and police, the lawyer contended.
Special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat argued that interrogation of the three accused was required in view of some fresh material including the suicide note.
“The accused have been charged with driving a person to suicide. There is a specific mention in the suicide note that these three accused are the cause behind him ending his life,” Gharat said.
The prosecutor also said that police custody of the accused was necessary considering the support one of them (Goswami) was getting “from a certain political party”.
Gharat also pointed out the order passed by the Bombay High Court on Monday, refusing to grant interim bail to the accused. The HC had said that the further probe that is being carried out in the case cannot be termed as illegal, he added.
The apex court will hear on Wednesday an interim bail plea filed by Goswami. It has been listed for hearing by a vacation bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee at 10.30 AM.
The Bombay High Court, while rejecting the interim bail pleas, had said no case was made out for it to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction, and the accused should seek bail from the sessions court.