The Supreme Court is hearing a special leave petition filed by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami seeking interim bail in the case concerning the suicide of interior designer, Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik.
Goswami has challenged a Bombay High Court order of November 9 which had rejected the bail plea while asking him to move Sessions court for regular bail.The plea by Goswami before the Supreme Court states that his arrest was "illegal, mala-fide and politically motivated as evident from the multifarious proceedings initiated against him, his news channels, Republic and Republic Bharat at the behest of the political dispensation."
The matter was heard by a Supreme Court Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee. Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared for Arnab Goswami. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appears for Shiva Sena-led Maharashtra Government. “We hold High Court was incorrect in not granting bail. Arnab Goswami and two other accused,” a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee said. The accused have been released on a bond of Rs 50,000 each.
The Supreme Court’s order also directed the police to release the accused immediately. Goswami and two other people – Feroz Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda – had challenged the Bombay High Court's order rejecting their interim bail plea in the top court. Shaikh and Sarda’s plea for interim releases were also accepted. The hearing lasted for over five hours, with a break in between. The accused are alleged to have failed to pay money they owed to an interior designer named Anvay Naik, managing director of Concorde Designs Private Limited. Naik and his mother were found dead in their home in Kavir village near Mumbai in 2018. A suicide note said that the Goswami, Shaikh and Sarda had not paid dues amounting to Rs 5.4 crore.
Earlier in the day, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the journalist said he was “a target of collateral damage.”
“Documents show that amount was paid by the accused [Goswami] to all vendors. Concorde designs was financially stressed for the last seven years,” Salve said. He also referred to a Alibaug court's observation that Goswami’s arrest appears to be illegal. “Prima facie link between accused and suicide cannot be created,” he said. “The judge should have released him on bond. That was not to be. Hence this plea before you. Not just quashing FIR.” Goswami’s lawyer also claimed that Akshata Naik, the wife of Anvay, wrote a “nasty letter” this year. “The person [Anvay Naik] was in financial difficulty and thereafter committed suicide, but how can it be abetment to suicide,” Salve asked the court. “As per Anvay Naik’s suicide note, Arnab Goswami owes Rs 83 lakhs where more than Rs 5 crores have been paid to Concorde. Documents show that.”
Justice Chandrachud said the Bombay High Court wrote a 56-page detailed order, but did not deal with a basic question on whether an offence was made out prima facie in the case. “In a matter like this when some dues was not paid, would a suicide mean abetment,” he questioned. “Would it not be a travesty of justice if someone is denied bail for this? Is there an active incitement to suicide? Can you say that it is a case for custodial interrogation?”
“We must send a message today to the High Courts as well: Please exercise your jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty,” he said. Citing the FIR, Chandrachud also said that Anvay Naik suffered from mental stress. “For Section 306, abetment there needs to be actual incitement,” he added. “[if] one owes money to another and they commit suicide – would it be abetment?” Chandrachud went on to say that if the Supreme Court did not interfere in the case, then they “will walk on path of destruction”. Chandrachud went on to say that if the Supreme Court did not interfere in the case, then they “will walk on path of destruction”.
Goswami is currently in judicial custody at the Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai after he was arrested on November 4.
In 2019, the Maharashtra Police had closed the case. However, on November 4, Goswami was arrested and remanded to 14-judicial custody, with the police stating that they were now investigating the matter again.
This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.
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