HC refuses interim bail to Arnab, asks him to move lower court

The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant interim bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and two others in a 2018 case of abetment of suicide of an interior designer.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik while rejecting the interim bail pleas of Goswami and the two other accused Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda said “no case has been made out for us (court) to exercise our extraordinary jurisdiction”.
With the high court refusing interim bail to Goswami, his stay at the Taloja jail will be extended.
Goswami and the two others were arrested by Alibaug police in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on November 4 in connection with the suicide of architect-interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother in 2018 over alleged non-payment of dues by companies of the accused.
The HC in its order on Monday said, “The petitioners have the efficacious remedy of seeking bail before the sessions court concerned. We have already noted earlier that if such bail plea is filed, then the sessions court shall decide the same in four days.”
The bench noted that refusal of the interim bail applications shall not affect the remedy available to the petitioners to seek regular bail.
It said the sessions court shall hear and decide the bail pleas on merits.
“Rejection of interim order shall not be construed as an impediment to the petitioners seeking alternate remedies.
The observations made in this order rejecting interim bail are prima facie only,” the high court said in its order.
Goswami on Monday morning filed a bail application in the Alibaug sessions court, his lawyer Gaurav Parkar said.
The sessions court is currently also hearing the revision application filed by the Alibaug police challenging a November 4 order of a magistrate’s court denying them custody of Goswami and the two other accused in the case and remanding the three in judicial custody.
Goswami, Shaikh and Sarda last week filed petitions in the HC challenging their “illegal arrest” in the case and seeking interim bail.
Apart from interim bail, the petitioners also sought that the HC stay the investigation into the case and quash the FIR against them.
The court will hear their pleas seeking to quash the FIR on December 10.
Goswami was arrested on November 4 from his Lower Parel residence in Mumbai and taken to Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district.
He and the two other accused were later produced before a magistrate who refused to send them in police custody and remanded them in judicial custody till November 18.
Goswami was initially kept at a local school which is designated as a COVID-19 quarantine centre for the Alibaug prison.
He was on Sunday shifted to the Taloja jail in Raigad district after allegedly being found using a mobile phone while in judicial custody, according to police.
In his petition, Goswami alleged that he is being targeted and harassed by the Maharashtra government for his reportage against the state government and Mumbai police on his news channel.
Goswami in his plea seeking interim bail had also alleged that he and his family were assaulted by the police.
His counsels Harish Salve and Aabad Ponda last week argued that the police in 2019 filed a closure report in the abetment of suicide case, and the government and police cannot reopen the case without seeking permission from the magistrate concerned.
Senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for the state government, had sought dismissal of the pleas seeking interim bail and said the government and police felt there was fresh material and hence, started further probe into the case.
Desai said just because the police filed an ‘A’ Summary report in the case in the past does not mean there cannot be further probe.