A fresh FIR has been filed against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami for allegedly manhandling a woman cop who was part of the team that arrested him on Wednesday (November 4) morning.
Police have also filed an FIR against his wife Samyabrata Ray Goswami and son under Section 353 of the IPC for obstructing police officers during the arrest.
The journalist who was arrested by Raigad police from his Mumbai home on charges of suicide abetment of an interior designer in 2018, told an Alibaug court that he was assaulted by police officers and sustained injuries on his hand and back during the arrest.
He was then taken back to the Alibaug police station for an examination by a civil surgeon.
Meanwhile, Republic TV has approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission alleging that the Mumbai and Raigad police had “unjustly and illegally” manhandled, assaulted and arrested Goswami.
Earlier in the day, Goswami’s arrest snowballed into a row between the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government and the BJP at the Centre.
Home Minister Amit Shah took to twitter to condemn the arrest. “Congress and its allies have shamed democracy once again. Blatant misuse of state power against Republic TV & Arnab Goswami is an attack on individual freedom and the 4th pillar of democracy. It reminds us of the Emergency. This attack on free press must be and will be opposed,” Shah tweeted.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, too, came out in support of the journalist. “We condemn the Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi, for its fascist and emergency mindset, which is on display,” he tweeted.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday said the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government has never acted vindictively against anyone since it came to power last year.
He also claimed that the state government or any political party had nothing to do with the arrest.
Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik termed Arnab Goswami’s arrest as “Part 2 of India’s Most Wanted”.
“Proper procedure of law is followed in Maharashtra. Police can take action against anyone if they have evidence. The state government hasn’t acted out of revenge,” Raut told the media.
“There is no anarchy in Maharashtra and law of the land is followed,” Raut said, adding that the Mumbai police are a professional force.
“It is not a black day for media. Journalists also should follow ethics. Media is not an investigating agency or court. This observation is of the highest court. We are all journalists. Whoever does anything wrong will be punished by the police,” he said.
Nawab Malik recalled the action against a TV crime show anchor who was charged with killing his wife. Suhaib Ilyasi, who had become well-known after hosting TV crime show ‘India’s Most Wanted’ was charged with murdering his wife in March 2000. He was, however, acquitted by the Delhi High Court in October 2018.
BJP’s Maharashtra unit chief Chandrakant Patil condemned the arrest saying that it was meant to muzzle Goswami’s voice for speaking against the Maharashtra government, the Congress and its leadership.
Talking to reporters in Nagpur, Patil said: “It is a murder of democracy and freedom of speech. Arnab Goswami speaks against you (government), Congress and party chief Sonia Gandhi. But, on that basis, you cannot arrest him.
“Reopening this (suicide abetment) case, which was already closed, means it is an attempt to stop the voice of Arnab Goswami. The BJP and the people of this country will not tolerate this,” Patil said.
“We condemn this incident and a protest led by me will held in Nagpur. Similar protests will be held at other places across Maharashtra,” Patil said.