Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami has filed an urgent interim application before the Bombay High Court seeking a stay on filing of charge sheet and the transfer of case to an agency outside the purview of the Maharashtra government.
In case the relief of stay is not granted, Goswami (represented by Phoenix Legal) has urged the Court to transfer the investigation of the case to CBI or any other independent agency.
Arnab Goswami and two other people named Feroz Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda are accused in Naik’s abetment to suicide case. Interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik committed suicide in 2018, allegedly because of non-payment of Rs 5.4 crore by firms of Goswami and two others. Naik and his mother were found dead in their home in Kavir village near Mumbai in 2018.
Earlier the Apex Court granted bail to Arnab Goswami and others wherein Apex Court made multiple observations in the judgment. The Apex Court had said, "the misuse of the criminal law is a matter of which the High Court and the lower courts in this country must be alive." Futher the Apex Court noted that criminal law should not become “a tool for selective harassment of citizens”.
The matter is listed before the Bombay High Court on 10 December, 2020 for quashing of FIR in the Anvay Naik case, two interim applications have been filed by Goswami about "premeditated, prejudged and predetermined" nature of the action by the Maharashtra government, specifically on the part of the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
It was submitted that the malafide intent of the Maharashtra Government reflects from a recent press conference held by the Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on 29 November 2020, wherein it was publicly declared that a "strong chargesheet" would be filed against Arnab Goswami "soon".
Arnab Goswami has stated that the above remarks were made despite the explicit, unequivocal and absolute prima facie decision of the Supreme Court (in the order granting him bail) that the FIR registered against him is Frivolous/illegal.
"It is pertinent to mention here that this shocking premeditated political declaration made by Mr. Anil Deshmukh came at a news conference 12 hours after the Hon'ble Supreme Court delivered the said judgement dated 27th November 2020.
The said statement and the corresponding investigation at the behest of the Home Department, State of Maharashtra, not only establishes the malicious and malafide intent guiding the overall investigation in the present case but also exposes the complete subversion of the Supreme Court order dated 27th November 2020," the plea states.
It adds, "It is also pertinent to mention that the Home Minister of Maharashtra was not only prejudging and publicly guiding the investigation in the case, but was also putting a timeline of progression to the case. It is thus clear that the entire investigation in the case is being puppeteered by political machinery and is tainted and prescripted by the executive powers at play of the Respondents."
It was alleged that there is a "well- documented pattern of interference" in the present case on the part of the Home Department, Maharashtra state and the Home Minister Mr. Anil Deshmukh, inasmuch the reinvestigation was launched at the behest of Home Department's letter dated May 26. Attention is also drawn towards the Home Minister's remarks against Goswami on the floor of the Maharashtra Assembly on September 8, 2020.
"It must be noted that the Home Minister of Maharashtra made the comments on the floor of the Maharashtra assembly more than 1 month before the case was officially reopened. This only reiterates the fact that it is with pure political instruction from the ruling dispensation that the law and order machinery is at work," Goswami suggested.
Further it is pointed out that despite the categorical observations of CJM, Raigad that no permission/ order of the court was obtained prior to reinvestigating the said case, the Maharashtra Home Minister "in a blatantly false statements" claimed that the investigation was going on after getting permission from the court.
At the outset it is contended that the Respondents are in the process of filing a completely malicious and vengeful chargesheet against Goswami, with the malafide intent to harass him and to stifle the means of justice.