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Supreme Court Grants Interim Bail to Arnab Goswami in 2018 Case of Abetment to Suicide

Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami being arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 53-year-old interior designer in 2018, in Raigad district. (PTI)

Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami being arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 53-year-old interior designer in 2018, in Raigad district. (PTI)

Two days ago, Bombay High Court had declined to release him on interim bail and asked Goswami to seek relief from the trial court by filing a regular bail plea.

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Utkarsh Anand

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered for the immediate release of Republic TV founding editor Arnab Goswami in connection with the 2018 abetment to suicide case, saying it will walk on a path of destruction if it doesn't interfere in this matter.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee gave interim bail to Goswami and two other co-accused in the case, maintaining that the Bombay High Court order of denying them the relief was incorrect. The court asked the TV anchor and two others to execute a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each and asked them to cooperate with the investigators in the meantime.

Goswami on Wednesday night walked out the Taloja jail in adjoining Raigad district. He waved to people assembled outside from the vehicle carrying him, saying he was thankful to the Supreme Court for granting him bail, according to news agency PTI. He flashed the victory sign and said, "This is the victory of the people of India."

While the detailed court order will be released by the bench on Thursday, the bench made strong remarks on why it was imperative for the Supreme Court to intervene in cases of personal liberty to protect it.

"If this court does not interfere today, we are travelling on the path of destruction. Forget this man (Goswami). You may not like his ideology. Left to myself, I do not watch his channel but it is not about him. It is about personal liberty of an individual," observed Justice Chandrachud.

The bench said if the state targets an individual, a message must go out from this court that it is there to protect them.

"Keep aside everything. If this is what our state governments are going to do to people who are to be nailed, then the Supreme Court has to intervene," said the judge.

"There has to be a message to high courts- Please exercise your jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty. We are seeing case after cases where high courts are failing to exercise jurisdiction. People are in jail for tweets," added Justice Chandrachud.

The bench also expressed doubts over the abetment to suicide charge invoked against Goswami, pointing out the accusations revolve around financial dispute.

"To make out a case of abetment, there has to be active incitement and encouragement. If money is owed to a person, is that a case of abetment to suicide? A owes money to B. B due to financial stress commit suicide. Will it attract offence under section 306 IPC?" asked the judge.

Justice Chandrachud further said: "We are dealing with personal liberty here and because he was owed money, Naik committed suicide due to financial stress. Is this a case for custodial interrogation?"

Senior advocate Harish Salve represented Goswami while Mukul Rohatgi and Gopal Sankaranarayanan appeared for the co-accused. On behalf of Maharashtra government and the police, senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Amit Desai argued before the bench.

Goswami was arrested a week ago as an accused in abetting suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik in 2018 after allegedly a dispute over certain payments.

The Maharashtra police had sought to close the case later and also filed A summary report before being trial court. However, Maharashtra government recently decided to reopen the investigations and Goswami was arrested.

Two days ago, Bombay High Court had declined to release him on interim bail and asked Goswami to seek relief from the trial court by filing a regular bail plea.


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