Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on Thursday filed an urgent application before the Bombay High Court, seeking a stay to the filing of chargesheet and further proceedings in the 2018 Anvay Naik abetment to suicide case. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who ordered re-investigation by the state CID, had no power to do so as the previous probe by the Alibaug police in Raigad district had been closed last year, it said.
Goswami, one of the accused in the case which is being re-investigated, was arrested by Alibaug police last month before the Supreme Court granted him bail. Stating that his arrest on November 4 was illegal, Goswami in his plea also urged the HC to transfer the investigation to the CBI or any other independent agency.
The Maharashtra government in May this year ordered a reinvestigation out of vendetta, the petition alleged. "The Home Department…or any other government authority does not have the power to order a reinvestigation or fresh investigation in a case where an 'A summary' report (clsoure report) is filed and the same is accepted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate," the petition said.
Deshmukh announced at a press conference in November that a "strong chargesheet" would be filed against Goswami, which showed that the state machinery was interfering in the case with a "malafide premeditated diktat to the law and order officers", it said. The re-investigation could not have been ordered without a judicial sanction and hence, the CID probe is illegal and "abuse of the process of law", Goswami said.
The announcement of re-investigation reeked of the "malice, spiteful nature and vendetta of the political dispensation" in Maharashtra, the petition claimed. Goswami also sought permission to amend his main petition seeking quashing of the FIR. He wanted to add arguments against the state home department's letter of May 26 which announced re-investigation and about which he learnt only last month, he said.
Interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik committed suicide in 2018, allegedly because of non-payment of dues by firms of Goswami and two others. After the alleged abetment to suicide case was reopened, Goswami and other two were arrested on November 4, but the Supreme Court granted them bail on November 11.