MUMBAI: In a huge setback for Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, the Bombay High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on his interim bail plea till 12 noon on Saturday.
A high court bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik posted the matter for hearing at 12 noon on Saturday. Goswami has been remanded to 14-day judicial custody till November 18 in a 2018 abetment to suicide case.
However, in another case, the Supreme Court granted protection from arrest to Arnab Goswami in connection with a case related to the Maharashtra assembly breach of privilege motion against him on Friday. The apex court, however, issued a show-cause notice to the Secretary of the legislative assembly for his letter to the journalist purportedly cautioning him against disclosing house notice to the top court.
The Supreme Court directed the Secretary of Maharashtra legislative assembly to explain in two weeks as to why the contempt proceedings not be initiated against him.
The Bombay high court had on Thursday refused to grant him any relief and posted the matter for hearing today. “Can’t pass interim order without hearing the complainant and State,” a bench comprising Justices Shinde and Karnik had said while posting the habeas petition filed by Goswami challenging his arrest for hearing at 3 PM on Friday.
The bench also directed Goswami to make the complainant in the case, Akshata Naik, Anvay’s wife, a respondent to his plea. “We have to hear all the parties concerned before considering the interim relief sought. We have to also hear the complainant as the family of the deceased has filed a petition here seeking transfer of the probe,” the bench said.
“The respondents (the Maharashtra government and the complainant) are entitled to respond….We will consider the interim relief sought tomorrow,” the court said.
A court at Alibaug in Maharashtra’s Raigad district had on Wednesday remanded Goswami and two other accused in judicial custody till November 18 in the 2018 abetment to suicide case. Police had sought Goswami’s custody for 14 days, but the court held that custodial interrogation was not required.
On Wednesday night, Goswami was taken for medical examination at a state-run hospital in the coastal town, news agency PTI said. Goswami spent the night at a local school which has been designated as a COVID-19 centre for the Alibaug prison.
Goswami and the two others have been booked under section 306 (abetment of suicide) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC in connection with the suicide of architect-interior designer Anvay Naik and Naik’s mother over alleged non-payment of dues by Republic TV.
The other two arrested accused in the case, Feroze Mohammed Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda, were also produced in the Alibaug court on Wednesday and remanded to judicial custody till November 18.
Naik, in his purported suicide note, had mentioned the names of Goswami, Shaikh and Sarda, police said, adding the note was sent to handwriting experts in Pune and a report is awaited.
Goswami had on November 2 filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking to quash the FIR in the case. It will be heard by a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and M S Karnik on Thursday.
A team of Raigad police picked up Goswami (47) from his Lower Parel house in Mumbai on Wednesday morning. He alleged that he was pushed into the police van and assaulted by police before being taken away. Goswami was produced in a court in Alibaug, around 90 km from Mumbai, and was remanded to judicial custody till November 18. The court ruling came shortly after 11 pm.
Maharashtra Police had registered an FIR against Goswami, his wife, son and two others for “obstructing, assaulting, verbally abusing and intimidating” a police officer on duty and for tearing up “government papers” (arrest intimation) at his house, the official said.
The FIR was registered at the N M Joshi Marg police station on Wednesday under sections 353, 504, 506 of IPC and section 3 of the Damage of Public Property Act, the official said.