In a setback for Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, the Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant interim bail in an alleged abetment to suicide case. Goswami was arrested and remanded to 14 days judicial custody on November 4, along with two co-accused in the 2018 alleged abetment to suicide case.
The division bench of Justice SS Shinde and MS Karni, while rejecting the plea for the urgent interim bail application observed that the petitioners have other remedies under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to approach the sessions court and hence court has rejected this application.
“However, the court clarifies that the pendency of the case in the High Court will not be an impediment for the petitioners to seek regular bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before the concerned court,” said the court in its oral order further adding that if the petitioners approach the Sessions Court, in that case, the court will have to pass its orders in four days as the court had directed on Saturday.
Earlier on Saturday, the court had reserved its order after hearing all the sides through video conferencing.
Before the court had reserved its order, Senior Counsel Amit Desai, who appeared for the Maharashtra Government, while challenging the maintainability of the interim bail application, argued that the question of arrest can’t be dealt with at this stage since he is under the judicial custody under a law full order passed by the judicial magistrate.
“Arnab Goswami had originally filed a bail application before the Magistrate and it was withdrawn saying Magistrate did not give a returnable time,” argued Desai along with the public prosecutor Deepak Thakre, representing the state government. “The petitioner has an efficacious remedy of seeking bail before the proper court. Even if a remand order is passed mechanically, a writ of habeas is not the remedy. Petitioners have acknowledged that habeas petitions are not maintainable for bail. They are not pressing that issue even though that is part of their petitions.”
Also, the counsels for the State Government had argued that “in the light of the fact that the suicide note made a definite allegation against accused (Goswami and others), the High Court was not justified in entering into question whether accused had intention to aid or instigate or abate the commission of suicide.”
While, Senior Counsel Sirish Gupte, who appeared for the complainant alleged that they have raised questions about the manner in which the previous investigation was conducted and said that when a fresh investigation is going on it would be unjust to the victims.
Architect Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik, directors of Mumbai-based architectural and interior designing firm Concorde Designs Pvt Ltd, were found dead in their Alibaug bungalow in 2018. The case was closed by police but was reopened earlier this year after the architect’s family filed a fresh plea.
Goswami was arrested under sections 306 (abetment of suicide), and 34 (acts done by persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. He was later charged with more sections for resisting arrest and tearing up his arrest papers.
The two other accused – Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia and Niteish Sarda of Smartworks – were also arrested. All three were named in a suicide note written by the architect, in which he said he and his mother were taking the extreme step because of non-payment of dues to them.