Arnab Goswami, Republic TV’s editor-in-chief, has been arrested by the Mumbai Police on the charge of abetting the suicides of Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik in 2018. Goswami is currently at the Alibaug police station in Raigad district where the deaths took place and where the first information report (FIR) was filed.
Anvay Naik reportedly left a suicide note which blamed Goswami for the non-payment of dues owed to him. It was reported that the financial strain caused by this led to severe distress in the family. Anvay Naik and his mother were found dead in their Alibaug home on May 18, 2018. The case is two years old, but it was reopened in May this year, after Anvay Naik’s wife, Akshata Naik, filed a complaint with the Mumbai Police saying the local police had not investigated the case properly.
Addressing the media by video conference, Akshata Naik said the investigation was deliberately botched up by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. She said it was common knowledge that Republic TV shared a mutually beneficial relationship with the then BJP government. Ever since her husband and mother-in-law died, she had been requesting the State government to reopen the case, which they finally did this year. According to her, Arnab Goswami and two others had not paid her husband what was owed to him. He was an interior designer for projects they had commissioned, including the Republic TV office.
Reliable sources say Republic TV allegedly owed Anvay Naik approximately Rs.84 lakh. When it was found that Goswami’s name was mentioned in the suicide note, apparently an attempt was made to pay the pending amount. However, the banks refused to accept the payment saying the account holder was a deceased person.
Goswami’s lawyer claimed that the TV anchor was beaten and handled roughly at the time of the arrest. His lawyer also claimed that the police did not follow due process in the arrest. However, the Mumbai Police said they acted on the evidence gathered and it was incriminating enough to take Goswami into custody. The police said they had sent a warrant to Goswami’s house. The television anchor’s wife reportedly received it but did not acknowledge the document.
The arrest has caused a furore among opposition parties and the BJP. Several prominent Union Ministers have taken to social media criticising the Maharashtra government for indulging in vendetta politics. They also accused the State government of infringing on the freedom of the press and compared the situation today with the Emergency.
Goswami and the Mumbai Police have been at loggerheads over the past few months since the coverage of the Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case and a recent television rating point (TRP) scam. Goswami’s supporters believe that the Uddhav Thackeray government is using Goswami as a pawn to hit at the BJP. The Maharashtra government’s supporters say the BJP has been using devious tactics to destablise the government and it was paying back the BJP in the same coin.