Police shift journalist Arnab Goswami to Navi Mumbai’s Taloja jail
Republic TV editor-in-chief and prime time anchor Arnab Goswami was shifted from Alibag primary school, which has been converted into a makeshift prison facility in Maharashtra’s Raigad district because of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, to Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai on Sunday morning.
Kaushtubh Kurlekar, superintendent of police (SP), Taloja jail, said: “He will be kept for a few days in a quarantine centre inside the prison before he is shifted to the barrack.”
Samyabrata Ray Goswami, senior executive editor of Republic TV and Goswami’s wife, put out a statement appealing for his “immediate release” and lashing out at the Maharastra government for its “human rights abuse and excesses”.
“On Sunday morning, my husband, who has spent four nights in judicial custody (JC), was being dragged and lugged by the Maharashtra Police in a blacked-out police van to Taloja Jail. He was repeatedly saying ‘my life is under threat’ but to no avail. He repeatedly said that the jailer assaulted him after he asked for access to his lawyers, which was shockingly denied. He detailed the assault being inflicted on him during this custody and pleaded, hands folded, to the Supreme Court (SC) for intervention and bail. An innocent man and journalist of decades of repute, who is doing his duty for the nation, has been assaulted, harassed and framed on fake charges. He has been thrown into jail with no reprieve...,” she said in the statement.
Goswami was arrested on November 4 along with two other accused, Feroz Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda, from Mumbai in connection with the 2018 abetment suicide case of architect and interior designer Anvay Naik, and they were produced in the Alibag district and session court on the same day.
Goswami was sent to a 14-day judicial custody later at night on that day following a hearing that lasted for six hours. His custody expires on November 18.
The security at the Alibag makeshift prison facility was strengthened on Sunday morning at around 10 am, as the prison authorities decided to shift Goswami to Taloja jail.
Alibag police have challenged the judicial custody and sought a permission for custodial interrogation of Goswami, Shaikh and Sarada, who have been booked for non-payment of late Naik’s dues of over Rs 5 crore.
The Alibag court will hear the plea on Monday (November 9).
Goswami also moved the Bombay high court (HC) on Saturday, questioning his arrest and sought immediate relief. His legal team argued that Goswami’s arrest and detention were illegal because the case was closed in April 2019 by the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Maharashtra.The high court is expected to take up his bail application at 3pm on Monday.
Earlier this year, the case was reopened by the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, a coalition of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, without obtaining necessary court order, his legal team further argued.
Shaikh and Sarda moved a similar plea in the HC, which reserved its order on the interim bail plea of Goswami and the other two accused.