GUWAHATI: Immediately after Republic Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami who hails from the city was arrested by Mumbai Police in abetment of a suicide case on Wednesday, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal termed it as an act of high handedness and said it was a ‘Black Day’ for the country known for its freedom of speech.
The Republic Editor-in-Chief has been arrested on Wednesday morning by Mumbai police for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 53-year-old interior designer, Anvay Naik, and his mother, in 2018. The designer had reportedly named Arnab Goswami in a suicide note and had accused Republic TV of not paying him his dues.
Goswami accused the Mumbai Police of physically assaulting him during his arrest while his Republic TV reported that around 10 policemen entered Goswami’s house and “pushed and heckled Arnab demanding he come out”.
Meanwhile, State health and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that it reminded of emergency days in Maharashtra. Taking to Twitter he wrote: “@republic Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami physically assaulted and arrested by Mumbai police is nothing but muzzling freedom of press by the vindictive M’rashtra govt. strongly condemn this shameless politically motivated Mumbai police action. It’s like Emergency days in Maharashtra.”
The FIR in the case says that Arnab Goswami of ARG Outlier, owner of Republic TV, had allegedly pending dues of Rs 83 lakh for the Bombay Dyeing Studio Project, and Feroz Shaikh had pending dues worth Rs 4 Crore for a project in Andheri.
Condemning the alleged assault and arrest of Arnab Goswami and naming it as a black day of Indian democracy, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said via Twitter, “I strongly condemn the assault on senior journalist #Arnab Goswami by Mumbai police. Vendetta politics should be stopped and freedom of press should be maintained in Maharashtra by releasing Mr Goswami immediately.”
The arrest comes in the middle of Mr Goswami’s row with the Mumbai Police over its investigations into a ratings scam and allegations that Republic TV is among three channels involved in manipulating TRPs or Television Rating Points by bribing households metred for viewership.
The editor had accused the police of harassing his colleagues and pursuing a vendetta over his channel’s criticism of Mumbai Police’s handling of the Sushant Singh Rajput case.