New Delhi: The Maharashtra government has ordered a fresh probe into two-year-old allegations of abetment to suicide against journalist Arnab Goswami’s news channel Republic TV.
In a tweet Tuesday, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said a “re-investigation” has been ordered on a fresh complaint by Adnya Naik, the daughter of architect Anvay Naik who had committed suicide in 2018 along with his mother.
Deshmukh said Adnya alleged that the Alibaug Police had not investigated the “non-payment of dues from Goswami’s channel, which drove her father and grandmother to suicide in May 2018”.
“I’ve ordered a CID re-investigation of the case,” the minister said.
The case refers to an incident in May 2018, when Goswami and two others were booked by the Alibaug Police for allegedly abetting the suicide of 53-year-old Anvay and his mother.
In his suicide note, Anvay had reportedly claimed that Goswami and the two others — Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia, a media services firm, and Niteesh Sarda of Smart work, which provides “flexible workspaces” — owed him a total of Rs 5.4 crore.
According to the FIR, ARG Outlier Media, the Goswami-owned parent company of Republic TV, owed Rs 83 lakh to the architect, who owned a firm called Concorde Designs Pvt. Ltd.
Allegation surfaces a second time
This is the second time that this particular case has resurfaced. Earlier this month, the Twitter handle of the Maharashtra Congress posted a video where the architect’s widow Akshata Naik reiterated the allegation that had led to an FIR against Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV.
In response, the news channel had issued a statement rebutting the charge, saying the video was the latest attempt by the “Vadra Congress to pressurise the network”.
It also claimed that the case against ARG Outlier Media was closed by a court after the police filed a closure report. It also warned that attempts to “misrepresent facts, make false claims, and target ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd” will be met with legal action both under civil law and criminal law, including on provisions of criminal conspiracy, defamation, and criminal intimidation.
Latest in tussle
This case has come as the latest addition to the ongoing tussle between the ruling Congress in Maharashtra and Arnab Goswami.
Last month, the journalist was booked for inflammatory statements against Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on his broadcast over the Palghar lynching case, in which two sadhus and their driver were lynched. In a video released hours after the show, Goswami had alleged that Congress “goons” attacked him in Mumbai while he was on his way back home.
In a petition filed by him later, he demanded that the over 100 FIRs against him for defaming Gandhi — filed in several Congress-ruled states — be quashed on the grounds that they violated his fundamental rights under Articles 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty).
Last week, the Supreme Court refused to transfer the Mumbai Police probe into Goswami’s case to the CBI, and quashed the identical FIRs in several states. The court also said that no new case could be filed on the same broadcast.
via The Print