The charge sheet filed against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and two others in a 2018 abetment of suicide case says that the accused did not pay heed to victim Anvay Naik's threat that he would end his life if his dues were not cleared by the trio. The charge sheet also said that Naik, who was under mental stress due to non-payment of dues by the accused, first strangled his mother Kumud, a partner in his business, before hanging himself to death.
The police on Friday filed the charge sheet before a court in Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district, where the case for alleged abetment of suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother has been registered. Besides Goswami, the other two accused named in the charge sheet are Firoze Sheikh and Nitish Sarda.
"The victim (Naik) had told them (accused) that he would commit suicide if they don't pay his dues. However, the accused ignored his threat and told him to do whatever he wants," the charge sheet said. "The accused didn't pay his dues, which caused mental stress to Naik. He first strangulated his mother, thinking that she might land in trouble as she was also a partner in his business," it said.
Naik later wrote a suicide note and then hanged himself, the charge sheet added. Police said that they have relied on the purported suicide note as the "dying declaration".
Naik's handwriting has been matched with the writing in the suicide note and forensic report indicated that he was not under pressure while writing it, police said. Police had earlier said that in his suicide note, Naik, who owned Concorde Designs Pvt Ltd, had claimed that he was ending his life due to non-payment of dues by Goswami, Firoze Sheikh of IcastX/Skimedia and Nitish Sarda of Smartworks.
Police said that as per the note, the three firms owed Naik's company Rs 83 lakh, Rs four crore and Rs 55 lakh respectively. The court will take cognisance of the charge sheet on December 16, Rahul Agarwal, advocate for one of the accused, said on Saturday.
The accused trio has been charged under IPC sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 109 (punishment for abetment) and 34 (common intention). As many as 65 persons were named as witnesses in the charge sheet that runs into 1,914 pages.
Police have listed statements of family members and staff of Naik, call data records, and information retrieved from electronic devices as evidence in the case. In May this year, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had announced that he has ordered a fresh probe in the case after a complaint by Adnya Naik, daughter of the architect Anvay Naik.
Goswami, Sheikh and Sarda were arrested by Alibaug police on November 4 in the case, but they got bail from the Supreme Court on November 11.
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