Arnab Goswami's interim bail plea has been refused by the Bombay High Court
Republic TV's Arnab Goswami, who was arrested last week in a 2018 abetment to suicide case, was refused interim relief again this afternoon after he petitioned the Bombay High Court against his arrest and the reopening of the case. Mr Goswami was told he can go to a lower court to seek bail. The arrest and the reopening of the two-year-old case was "illegal", Mr Goswami told the high court.
A two-member bench today said that "no case was made out in the present matter for the high court to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction." In its order, the High Court also said that the reopening of investigation by the state police "cannot be said to be irregular or illegal by any stretch of imagination."
Ahead of the hearing in the Bombay High Court, the Republic TV promoter moved the sessions court for bail. The High Court said the lower court must take a decision within four days.
Arnab Goswami was arrested from his Mumbai home last week (on November 4) after the police claimed they had found new evidence in the 2018 suicide case. He was initially kept at a local school, which had been turned into a quarantine centre for prisoners, but he was moved to the Taloja Jail on Sunday after he was allegedly found using a mobile phone, news agency PTI reported.
A day after his arrest, the High Court had refused him interim relief saying it wanted to hear the matter "in detail". On Saturday, the High Court had said: "We can't pass any order today. Meanwhile, we will clarify that pendency of the petition will not bar the petitioner from approaching the sessions court for bail and if such an application is filed, it should be decided within four days."
Arnab Goswami's lawyers - Harish Salve and Abad Ponda - argued that the police have not met the legal requirement of getting a court's consent for reopening the case, which led to his arrest.
After Mr Goswami's arrest, the police was denied his custody and a magistrate's court sent him to judicial custody. The police have challenged that order in the sessions court as they say they need Mr Goswami's custody for investigation.
Advocate Amit Desai, who appeared for the Maharashtra government, argued: "Arrest happens before a person is produced before the magistrate. The moment your illegal arrest has resulted in a judicial remand, the question of arrest is not relevant later."
Mr Goswami was arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of 53-year-old interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother in 2018. Avnay Naik, an architect and interior designer who reportedly designed Republic TV's sets, named Arnab Goswami and two others in a suicide note in which he alleged that his dues were not paid by the channel.
The case was closed earlier when the BJP was in power in Maharashtra after the police told a court that there was no evidence to proceed against the accused and prosecute them.
Mr Naik's family appealed to the government saying the probe had been scuttled and the government ordered a re-examination of the case.