Maharashtra Government accuses Arnab of “browbeating” the police, Journalist moves Court against the fresh case

Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami has moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of a fresh FIR lodged against him by Mumbai Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by making some remarks during his news show.

According to a lawyer associated with the case, Goswami in his fresh plea filed in the apex court has sought a direction to restrain authorities from continuing any probe initiated pursuant to filing of the FIR on May 2.

The plea has been filed days after the Maharashtra government moved the apex court alleging that Goswami, facing a probe in a criminal case for his alleged comments in his news shows on the Palghar lynching case, has been “browbeating” the police by “creating fear psychosis”.

On April 24, the top court had granted three-week protection to Goswami against any coercive steps in connection with some FIRs lodged against him in various states for alleged defamatory statements made during news shows on Palghar mob-lynching of three persons, including two saints in Maharashtra.

The fresh FIR was lodged on May 2 in Mumbai against him and two others for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by making derogatory remark regarding a mosque located in suburban Bandra, a Mumbai Police officer had said.

Goswami in his news show had displayed picture of the mosque and questioned the gathering of a large number of people outside it on April 14, the officer had said while quoting the FIR.

Hundreds of migrant workers had gathered in Bandra on April 14 demanding transport arrangements to go back to their native places, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced extension of the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 till May 3.

The FIR was lodged in Pydhonie police station in south Mumbai on May 2 by Irfan Abubakar Sheikh, secretary of Raza Education Welfare Society.

Recently, the state government had approached the apex court and the plea filed by a Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai Police has sought a direction to Goswami “to insulate the investigating agency from any pressure, threat and coercion” and to enable the investigating agency to carry out its lawful obligations in a “fair and transparent manner”.

The application by the state has also sought a direction to restrain the news anchor from “abusing the interim protection”.

On April 24, the top court had transferred a case lodged against Goswami from Nagpur to Mumbai and stayed the investigation in other similar criminal cases related to the alleged defamatory statements made during news shows on Palghar mob-lynching. It had asked the Mumbai police to probe the separate FIR filed by Goswami against some youth Congress workers together.

Several FIRs and complaints were lodged against Goswami in many states for his alleged defamatory comments made in a news programme questioning the silence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi over Palghar lynching case.

Earlier, the senior journalist had moved the apex court seeking quashing of complaints and FIRs filed against him by Congress leaders in different states across the country.

In his plea, Goswami had also sought direction that no cognizance of any complaint would be taken by any court nor any fresh FIR registered by the police. He had also sought security for family members and colleagues of his channels.