Arnab Goswami moves HC for quashing FIR in Anvay Naik case

Published: December 3,2020 09:50 PM

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December 3, 2020: Ahead of December 10 hearing in Bombay High Court for quashing of FIR in the Anvay Naik case, two interim applications have been filed by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.

December 3, 2020: Ahead of December 10 hearing in Bombay High Court for quashing of FIR in the Anvay Naik case, two interim applications have been filed by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami about "premeditated, prejudged and predetermined" nature of the action by the Maharashtra government, specifically on the part of the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

Petitioner Arnab Goswami via his legal counsel has spoken of the "entire exercise in malice" by the Maharashtra government from May 2020 to November 2020.

The interim applications say that not only the directive for reinvestigation of a case which was closed by a court of law, but also the eventual direction of the investigation, has been scripted by Maharashtra government.

The interim applications state that the minister is acting in contravention of law and abusing his office to fix and frame and individual and a news network.

While the first application is to amend the writ petition by stating that new facts have emerged since the original filing, the second interim application is regarding the statements made by Deshmukh regarding a chargesheet "in defiance of all due process and in contravention of the top court observations on the matter".

In the first application, Phoenix Legal which represents Arnab Goswami, has said that on May 26, 2020, the Home Department was intervening and sending letters to reinvestigate the suicide case that was closed by a court of law following a closure report by the police.

The second interim application speaks of a "fresh cause of action" given that the Maharashtra Home Minister on November 28 made a public statement about a "strong chargesheet" in the abetment to suicide case despite scathing observations by the Supreme Court.

In light of new facts, Arnab Goswami's applications have sought additional prayers - stay the filing of chargesheet in connection with the FIR, quash the reinvestigation and put a halt to all the coercive action in the case.

It will all be heard by the Bombay High Court on December 10.

The hearing in the Bombay High Court in the closely watched case comes after the Supreme Court in a 55-page judgment made scathing observations about the state machinery and the misuse of law by it.

The top court said that prima facie the ingredients of the offence were not established and "... it cannot be said that the petitioner was guilty of having abetted the suicide within the meaning of Section 306 of the IPC".

Deshmukh in 12 hours of the Supreme Court's observations publicly declared that a "strong chargesheet" would be filed against Arnab Goswami "soon", the application notes.

The fresh application by Arnab Goswami has cited a letter to prove that the investigation is politically scripted and prejudged to target an independent journalist.

This letter of May 26 by Maharashtra Home Department lays down that it is calling for a reinvestigation into the previously closed Anvay Naik suicide case, and transferring it to the CID.

The interim application says 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 Anil Deshmukh".

It says Deshmukh has in the past spoken of an "elaborate inquiry" on the floor of the Maharashtra Assembly.

The Supreme Court had made multiple observations in the judgment that granted bail to Arnab Goswami and others. The top 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."

The Supreme Court said the High Court could not but have been cognizant of the specific ground which was raised before it by the appellant that he was being made a target as a part of a series of occurrences which have been taking place since April 2020.