Arnab Goswami not out of trouble yet as police files charge-sheet in suicide case

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(In the hearing of an unrelated case against him,) Republic TV Editor Arnab Goswami arrives at a court in Mumbai. (ANI Photo)

Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud committed suicide in 2018, allegedly because of non-payment of dues by firms of Goswami and other two accused.

Our Bureau
New Delhi

The Mumbai police on Friday filed a charge-sheet against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and two others in a 2018 abetment of suicide case. The charge sheet was filed before a court in Alibaug in neighboring Raigad district, where the case for alleged abetment of suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud has been registered.
Besides Goswami, the other two accused named in the charge sheet are Firoze Sheikh and Nitish Sarda, said special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat. As many as 65 persons are named as witnesses, he added.
Incidentally, Goswami had moved the Bombay High Court on Thursday seeking a stay to the filing of charge sheet, but the petition is yet to be heard. Goswami, Sheikh and Sarda were arrested by Alibaug police on November 4 in the case, but they got bail from the Supreme Court on November 11.
Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud committed suicide in 2018, allegedly because of non-payment of dues by firms of Goswami and other two accused.
The case, closed for want of evidence in 2019, was reopened in May this year, with Goswami alleging that the Maharashtra government was pursuing a vendetta against him for his work as a TV journalist.
On Thursday, Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami has moved the Bombay high court seeking a stay on the ongoing investigation by the Mumbai Police into Anvay Naik’s suicide case in 2018. The journalist has also urged the high court to transfer the investigation to CBI or any other independent agency.
The matter will be heard before the Bombay high court on December 10.
Goswami was arrested on November 4 on charges of abetting the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother in 2018. He was granted interim bail on November 11.
Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh has recently said a charge sheet will be filed soon in the case.
A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee said that the high court should not foreclose itself from the exercise of the power when a citizen has been “arbitrarily deprived of their personal liberty in an excess of state power”.
“In this batch of cases, a prima facie evaluation of the FIR does not establish the ingredients of the offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC. The appellants are residents of India and do not pose a flight risk during the investigation or the trial.
“There is no apprehension of tampering of evidence or witnesses. Taking these factors into consideration, the order dated 11 November 2020 envisaged the release of the appellants on bail,” the top court recently said.
More than two years after he ended his life owing to financial stress, handwriting and documentation experts have confirmed that a one-page note found in the Alibaug bungalow of interior designer Anvay Naik was indeed written by him.
Raigad police is also looking at using the suicide note as a dying declaration by Naik to strengthen the case against Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami, who is accused of suicide abetment.
Home minister Anil Deshmukh also confirmed that his government has received a report from experts stating that the suicide note was written by Naik who died on May 5, 2018. “Forensic opinion has also been given to say he did not sign this suicide note under pressure,” said Deshmukh.
The report was submitted to the state on November 4. Along with Naik, the body of his mother, Kumud too, was found in the same bungalow. He had strangulated her before killing himself.

The wife and daughter of Anvay Naik speak to the media

Naik had carried out work for firms promoted by Goswami. The Naik family’s contention was that Goswami’s firm owed him Rs 83 lakh. Two others – Nitesh Sarda of Smartworks and Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia too had allegedly failed to settle bills. Naik allegedly died by suicide in his own bungalow in Alibaug owing to mounting debt incurred by his firm. After the incident, an offence was registered against the trio.

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