Arnab Goswami is currently kept at a local school which has been designated as a COVID-19 centre for the Alibaug prison. One night in judicial custody Arnab was very restless and disturbed. He has his food and also allowed to meet his lawyer but the very fact that he is arrested was a shock to his life, said the sources. His Republic media is running a full-fledged campaign called #IAmArnab demanding his relief. His entire TV crew is deployed outside the court, as well as local school. He had moved a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging his “illegal arrest” in a 2018 case of abetment of suicide of an interior designer, and sought quashing of the FIR lodged against him by Alibaug police in Maharashtra, which was later in the day rejected by the Bombay High Court. In his petition, Goswami had challenged his “illegal arrest” and sought an urgent order of stay in the investigation into the case and also a direction to the police to release him immediately. The plea had also sought the FIR against him to be quashed.
Goswami was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday from his home in Mumbai in connection with the suicide of an architect, Anvay Naik, and his mother in 2018. The case was closed under the previous government but was reopened recently after appeals from the architect’s family. A court in Alibaug forbade the police’s demand for 14-day custody and also dismissed Goswami’s charge that he had been physically assaulted while being arrested, an allegation he and his channel made several times in the day. Republic TV promoter Arnab Goswami was sent by a court in Maharashtra yesterday to 14 days of judicial custody.
A 13-minute video shot during the arrest shows policemen pleading with the editor to cooperate as he says he has been assaulted. Eventually the policemen drag him away. The Bombay High Court will today hear Goswami’s petition to strike off the case against him. He is also expected to file for bail, a move the police and Naik’s family will oppose. Goswami was taken to jail last night after an unusually long hearing of nearly six hours that went on almost till midnight. Mr Naik’s family will also file a petition in the Bombay High Court for its intervention.
Goswami’s lawyers described the refusal of police custody as a win. In a statement, Republic TV said, “Arnab Goswami’s arrest has been made part of a larger vindictive exercise against an independent journalist & news network. This is to bring to light real facts on unfounded allegations in a closed case based on which Arnab Goswami was assaulted and arrested.”
After his arrest, almost the entire union cabinet came out in support of Goswami alleging that his arrest was a reminder of the Emergency and that it was an assault on press freedom. Both the Editors Guild of India and News Broadcasters Association came out against the arrest but the Mumbai based TVJA (Television Journalists Association) said that the case was a personal matter and had nothing to do with journalism.