Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV, is at it again. This time he has driven the Maharashtra government up the wall with his antics. On May 4, the Maharashtra government, on behalf of Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai (Zone III), filed an application before the Supreme Court alleging that Goswami has been browbeating the police. At the outset the Maharashtra government submitted to the court that Goswami was abusing the interim protection granted by this court by heckling and badgering the investigating authorities and thus hampering proper investigation.
Goswami is being questioned by the Mumbai Police in connection with defamatory comments made on his show against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, virtually accusing her of being the mastermind behind the lynching of two ‘sadhus’in Palghar in April. He had given the entire incident a deeply communal hue, forcing the Maharashtra government to announce that none of the alleged perpetrators of the attack who were nabbed in connection with the case were members of the community being blamed for it by Goswami.
After a series of FIRs were filed against him across the country Arnab Goswami moved Supreme Court, which granted him a hearing in record time, and then gave him protection against arrest for 3 weeks. The many FIRs were clubbed into one and the FIR filed in Nagpur, which was transferred by the court to Mumbai, where Goswami resides, became the prime FIR. Accordingly, Goswami was asked by the court to cooperate with the investigation of the police. Thereafter the police called him for questioning as part of their investigation, which clearly hasn’t gone too well.
Clearly, no other journalist who is facing any form of persecution by the State has been able to operate with such impunity. This makes one wonder if Goswami enjoys the patronage of powerful people whose blessings may have granted him some form of immunity from the consequences of his actions.
The Maharashtra government’s application also raised the issue of Goswami casting aspersion on Mumbai Police by calling the investigation biased on his prime time TV show. Many tweets were also posted on Republic TV’s official twitter handle stating that the police was being biased against Goswami and that they were unnecessarily questioning him for several hours. Further, in his show “Puchta hai Bharat”, Goswami made false assertions against Police Commissioner of Mumbai while stating that “he was involved with India Bulls which is a scam and that the Petitioner (Goswami) is investigating India Bulls”.
The application states that the statements made in the debate amount to terrorising and intimidating the police, as well as denigrating the institution of Police. The application also states that Goswami entered the police station with this TV crew and virtually was commanding the police to do certain things. It also states that Goswami’s conduct is full of arrogance and is tantamount to encroaching upon the area of investigation and also that principles of law, equity and justice are at stake here. The application prays that the court restrains Goswami from indulging in such acts.
Meanwhile, Arnab Goswami has approached the Supreme Court yet again for quashing another FIR filed against him, this time for communalising the Bandra migrant incident. This time the FIR has been filed by one Irfan Abukar Shaikh who is the Secretary of Raza Educational Welfare Society.
The FIR alleges that Goswami had designated the migrant workers assembled in Mumbai’s Bandra area on April 14, as “actors” who had been placed there by “anti-national” elements; thus it makes for a case under section 153 (giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153(A) [ promoting enmity between different groups] , 295A [acts intended to outrage religious feelings], 500 [defamation], 505(2) [statements promoting hatred or enmity], 511 and 120B [criminal conspiracy].
Goswami has approached the court saying that this FIR has been lodged only because this court had said that no new FIR can be filed on same cause of action (related to Palghar lynching incident). Goswami’s petition states that this case is being made up only to create more grounds for harassing him and all allegations are vindictive and frivolous. The petition also states that Goswami’s channel in fact unearthed a fake migrant crisis in Maharashtra which exposes the “Congress Party Ecosystem”. He prays that the FIR against him be quashed and registration of any FIR at the behest of “servants and agents” of State of Maharashtra be prohibited.