The Hon’ble Bombay HC, on 05th March, 2021, granted Republic TV’s Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami, exemption from personal appearance before the court in the Anvay Naik abetment to suicide case.
A Hon’ble division bench granted the ad-interim relief on an amended plea by Goswami, seeking to quash the 2018 FIR and charge sheet against him in the interior designer’s suicide.
In the interim, Goswami had requested immunity from personal attendance till his petition is decided, citing apprehension of false allegation and illegal detention in a known/unknown case.
The Hon’ble Chief Judicial Magistrate, took cognisance of the charge sheet led by the Police against Goswami and two others. Goswami was summoned by the magistrate and asked to appear on March 10, 2021.
Goswami has alleged that “re-investigation in the case has been done and charge sheet has clearly been led only under political pressure and on account of malice on part of the State of Maharashtra.”
He has further accused the Home Minister of making “vendetta driven” public statements, and the police “seem to be executing his script.”
Interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud, committed suicide, allegedly because of non-payment of dues by Goswami and two other accused. The accused are changed under section 306 (abetment to suicide) and 109 (offering a bribe to a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred as to “IPC, 1860”).
The case was closed for the need of evidence in 2019, and re-opened in May, 2020. Goswami alleged that Maharashtra government was pursuing a vendetta against him for his work as a TV journalist.
Goswami was arrested by police in connection with the case and was remanded in judicial custody for two weeks. The Hon’ble Supreme Court ordered his release from the custody, after the Hon’ble Bombay High Court refused to grant him interim bail. As many as 65 persons have been named as witnesses in the charge sheet, which runs into 1,914 pages.
It relies on a purported suicide note as Naik’s ‘dying declaration’. As per the charge sheet, handwriting on the suicide with that of Naik’s and the forensic report indicated that he was not under pressure while writing it.
Six statements recorded before a magistrate under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 are also part of the charge sheet in Anvay Naik suicide case.
The case will continue hearing a petition by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami for quashing of an abetment to suicide FIR against him in Anvay Naik’s case.
Coram: Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale