Mumbai: A court at Alibaug in Maharashtra refused to remand Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in police custody in a 2018 abetment to suicide case. It also observed that the arrest of Arnab Goswami and two other accused ‘appears to be prima facie illegal’.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Sunaina Pingle did a detailed perusal of the case diary and other relevant documents Wednesday. The CJM noted that the prosecution failed to prima facie establish a link between the deceased and the accused persons.
The magistrate in a late Wednesday night order remanded Goswami and two other accused in judicial custody till November 18. The magistrate was hearing the case of suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother. The suicides happened over alleged non-payment of dues by companies of the accused persons.
“Taking into consideration the reasons behind the arrest of the accused persons and the arguments put forth by the accused persons, the arrest appears to be prima facie illegal,” the court said.
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The magistrate noted that the chain of circumstances, the reason behind the deaths of Anvay Naik and his mother Kumodini Naik. The CJM observed that its connection with the accused persons is not established by the prosecution.
“There is no cogent evidence submitted that warrants this court to remand the arrested accused to police custody,” the court said.
A team of Raigad police picked up Goswami (47) from his residence at Lower Parel here Wednesday morning. Goswami and the two other accused – Feroze Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda – were later produced before magistrate Pingle in Raigad’s Alibaug town. It is around 90km from here. The three were remanded in judicial custody till November 18. The court ruling came shortly after 11.00pm at night.
The magistrate in the order noted that if the police case is to be accepted that Anvay Naik took the drastic step of committing suicide due to non-payment of dues by Goswami and the two other accused, then the question arises as to why his (Anvay Naik’s) mother Kumodini Naik committed suicide.
“Did she (Kumodini) die by suicide? There is no clear answer to this by the prosecution. The police have been unable to establish a link between the deaths of Kumodini Naik and Anvay Naik and the three arrested accused,” the court said.
The court also noted that the police have not been able to specifically point out the so-called lacunae in the probe done by the previous police team in 2018 in the case. It further said the Alibaug police did not seek the magistrate’s permission before reopening the case.
“The investigating officer on October 15, 2020 only submitted a report to the magistrate informing that certain fresh material has come to the fore in the case. There is no record to show that the magistrate permitted reopening of the case,” the court said.
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