MUMBAI: The Alibag Judicial Magistrate court rejected the police custody to Republic TV owner and editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on late Wednesday night but gave 14 days police custody instead.
Maharashtra police produced all three accused, including Arnab Goswami, who were arrested in connection with Anvay Naik suicide case on Wednesday.
Architect Anvay Naik died by suicide in 2018, leaving a note in which he held Arnab Goswami and two more people responsible for his death.
The court heard all sides arguments and counter arguments and gave the 14 days judicial custody.
After the court remanded Goswami in judicial custody, his lawyers Aabad Ponda and Gaurav Parkar filed an application seeking bail.
"The court asked the police to file their reply and posted it for hearing tomorrow," advocate Ponda said.
Goswami would be kept at a police station for the night as the proceedings went on till late, he added.
He has 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 in 2018.
Besides Goswami, the other two arrested accused in the case are Feroze Mohammed Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda.
They were also produced in court and remanded to judicial custody till November 18.
"The probe in the case after it was reopened began on October 15 during which the statements of the deceased person Anvay Naik's wife and daughter were recorded before a magistrate," the police said in its remand application.
Notices were issued to 28 persons, and statements of 17 of them, including Naik's accountant and employees of his firm, have been recorded by the police, it said.
"We have received fresh and positive information from these statements which warrants further probe," the police said.
Naik, in his purported suicide note, specifically mentioned the names of Goswami and the other two accused, the police said, adding that the note had been sent to handwriting experts in Pune and a report was awaited.
Advocate Ponda opposed the remand plea and said there is a vendetta against Goswami.
"The entire arrest is illegal. He (Goswami) has been arrested based on an investigation which is completely illegal. This is not a case where he should have been picked up in this manner as if he is a hardened criminal," Ponda argued.
A closure report had been filed in this case and hence the delayed police action smacks of malafide, he said.
The prosecution argued that Goswami and the other two accused did not cooperate with the probe.
"Goswami is the editor of a television news channel and can influence common people. The statements of employees of the company owned by Goswami that runs the channel need to be recorded. If the accused is released then there is a chance of him influencing these witnesses," the police said.
"Custodial interrogation of the arrested accused persons is required to verify his and his company's bank statements, communication between his company and the deceased person," the police said.
The earlier probe had several missing links, they argued.
But the court did not grant the request for police remand.
Advocate Sushil Patil, lawyer of co-accused Sarda, told reporters that the court observed in its order that the police had not taken the court's permission before reopening the case.
The court observed that in the same case, the same police had given clean chit to the three accused, so refused to give police custody. Prima facie, court did not find any reason for police custody of Mr Goswami.
Meanwhile, Arnab Goswami's lawyer has moved Bombay High Court for quashing the FIR against him in Anvay Naik suicide case.
The hearing of this case is scheduled on Thursday.
Arnab booked for assaulting cops
Mumbai Police on Wednesday registered an FIR against Republic TV's Editor in Chief Arnab Goswami, his wife, son and two others for allegedly assaulting police officials and trying to obstruct them when they reached his house here to arrest him.
A team of Alibaug police arrested Goswami earlier in the day for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 53-year-old interior designer and his mother in 2018.
While Goswami was heard claiming, while he was being taken away in a police van, that the police assaulted him in his house, the police registered an FIR against him, his wife and two others for allegedly assaulting officials and for verbal abuse.
The First Information Report (FIR) was registered against him and others at N M Joshi Marg Police Station in Mumbai under IPC sections 353 (assault to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) and under the Damage to Public Property Act, an official said.
A woman police official, who was part of the team which arrested Goswami from his Lower Parel residence here, filed the complaint, he said.
As per the complaint, Goswami, his wife, son and an unidentifed man and a woman tried to obstruct the officials when they were arresting the journalist.
Goswami's wife tore up the arrest intimation papers which the police wanted her to sign, the complaint alleged.
Goswami, who was seen being pushed into the police van, claimed before being taken away that he was assaulted by police inside the house.
Meanwhile, the officer, who had earlier investigated the abetment to suicide case, will face inquiry, the police said.
The earlier investigation officer (IO) of the case had submitted a closure report in the case, saying there was no evidence.
The Maharashtra government announced a fresh probe into the case in May this year, and on Wednesday, Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV, was arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of architect and interior decorator Anvay Naik in 2018.
A first information report (FIR) for abetment of suicide had been registered against Goswami and two others in Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district following Naik's death.
But the IO submitted `A summary report' before a local court on April 26, 2019, saying there was no evidence.
After the government decided to reopen the case, Raigad police informed the court on October 15 this year that they will initiate an enquiry against the then IO too, a senior official of Raigad police said.
53-year-old Anvay Naik's purported suicide note claimed that he and his mother were ending life due to non- payment of his dues by Goswami, Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia and Niteish Sarda of Smartworks.
Police said that as per the note, the three firms owed Naik's company Rs 83 lakh, Rs four crore and Rs 55 lakh, respectively.
High drama at Goswami's residence during his arrest
High drama was witnessed at the residence of Goswami here on Wednesday morning when a police team arrived to arrest him in an abetment of suicide case with the entire episode, interspersed with arguments and pleadings, recorded on camera.
"Arnab ji chaliye," said a police officer, requesting the 47-year-old journalist to come along with them to Alibaug, a coastal town in Raigad district adjoining Mumbai where the case against him has been registered.
Footage aired on Republic TV and social media platforms showed Goswami arguing with police official, alleging assault and pleading for medical aid.
After sometime, as Goswami kept arguing and firing a volley of questions, police officials caught him and took him out of his Lower Parel residence in Central Mumbai and put him in a waiting van.
The police officers "Arnab ji" address reminded people of Goswamis jibe at the Maharashtra chief minister as Uddhav Thackeray ji on his TV shows.
Mumbai police personnel were present to assist their Raigad counterparts in completing the entire process of detention and arrest.
A video showed police officers pulling Goswami out of the door of his flat and requesting him to come out.
A few moments later, Goswami was seen coming inside his flat and sitting on the sofa in the hall.
Family members of Goswami started recording the incident on their mobile phones and one of them was heard saying everything is live now.
As a verbal altercation between police officers and Goswami ensued, one of the cops was heard telling him, "better you come with us. You have to cooperate with the police."
As Goswami showed reluctance, an officer introduced himself as "DySP Pravin Patil of the Raigad Police".
Patil told Goswami he has come to his place in legal capacity to arrest him in case no 59/2018 registered at the Alibaug police station under IPC sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 34 (acts done by persons in furtherance of common intention).
Patil also informed Goswami's family members present in the flat that he is being taken to Alibaug, around 100km from Mumbai.
Goswami was seen alleging that he was "physically assaulted" by the police and he will not accept physical assault. I am the Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, you are physically assaulting me, is this right?" Goswami is heard asking the police in the video.
The police officials, who were present in the flat, countered Goswami and said nobody assaulted him.
Goswami is seen shouting at the police and saying, "Don't touch my son, you assaulted me, you can not assault my family. My hand is injured and I suppose to go to the hospital."
A female police officer wanted signature of Goswamis wife on a paper.
However, the well-known TV journalist immediately intervened and asked his wife not to sign on any paper and told the police to maintain physical distance.
Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, an "encounter specialist" with the Mumbai Police, was also at Goswamis residence to assist the Raigad cops.
Goswami alleged assault by Vaze and said he has illegally entered in his flat.
The Republic TV Editor-in-Chief also demanded action against Vaze and DySP Patil.
As the police repeatedly asked Goswami to come along them, he was heard telling them, I want medical advise before leaving. "I want to make some arrangements and I want to talk to my family."
As an officer told him that he is in police custody, Goswami sought to know what charges have been levelled against him.
The officer was seen telling him, Once again I will tell you, you are arrested by the Raigad police under sections 306, 34 of the IPC.
The officer told Goswami he has full legal right to defend himself, but for now he has to come with them.
At this juncture, Goswami was seen alleging highhandedness by the police and told his wife to call the doctor.
After several rounds of arguments, the police team decided to pick him up and asked him to accompany them.
An officer told him, Arnab ji Chaliye after which he was caught by police officials and pushed towards the door of the flat.
At this point, Goswami in loud voice told his wife to record the entire episode.
(With ENS and PTI Inputs)