New Delhi; The Supreme Court ordered the release of Arnab Goswami and other co-accused on temporary bail on a bond of Rs 50,000 each in an abetment to suicide case. Stating that the High Court was in falsehood in denying the application for grant of interim bail to Goswami, the top court said HCs were not doing enough in cases where personal liberty is refused.
A vacation bench of Justices Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee made the remarks while hearing Goswami’s appeal questioning the Bombay HC order. Goswami and two others Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda \ were charged on November 4 and have been in judicial custody. Justice Chandrachud asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Maharashtra if there was any active motivation or incitement in the case to constitute an offense of abetment to suicide. “Otherwise look at the drastic consequences. We are dealing with personal liberty,” said Justice Chandrachud. He added that India’s democracy is extraordinarily resilient and the Maharashtra government must ignore all this (Arnab’s taunts on TV). Appearing before the court for Goswami, advocate Harish Salve said that Maharashtra Police seeking a custodial probe of Goswami was nothing but a smokescreen to teach him a lesson.
“Allegation is about withholding money which can be verified from documents. What’s the need for custodial interrogation? It’s just a smokescreen to teach the man a lesson,” Salve said. Salve also said the case against Goswami did not stand the test of basic ingredients required to set an offense of abetment to suicide under Section 306 of IPC. “For abetment, there must be a direct and indirect act of commission of the offense. If a person commits suicide in Maharashtra & accuses govt, will CM be arrested? Need to lay proximity test to prove abetment to suicide case,” he said.
According to Live Law, Salve contended that Goswami was arrested based on a three-year-old FIR. “That too during the Diwali week and then he is transferred from Taloja Jail,” he said adding, “There is no doubt about what the state government is trying to do.”
He also alleged that the power to re-investigate is being incorrectly used by the Maharashtra government. Disputing that overlay of malignancy and fact, misuse, and conduct of state power is not something that happens on daily basis, he said, “We’re past FIR stage. FIR was filed in May 2018 & after this matter was investigated. Power to re-investigation incorrectly used,” Salve said. On November 9, the HC bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik had denied bail to Goswami. The court said that “no case was made out based on facts of the case as per section 439 of Criminal Procedure Code under extraordinary jurisdiction” and said its observances are in ‘prima facie nature.’
The HC gave him the freedom to move the sessions court for bail under Section 439 of CrPC and produced the sessions court to dispose of the matter in four days if filed. The case against Goswami pertains to the death of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik at their bungalow in Alibaug in May 2018. According to police officials, the duo died by suicide over plausible non-payment of dues by Goswami’s channel and two other companies. Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Dushyant Dave on Tuesday opposed the “urgent” listing of Goswami’s petition before the two-judge bench on Wednesday.