New Delhi, May 4: The Maharashtra government has moved the Supreme Court alleging that Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, facing probe in criminal cases for his alleged comments in news shows on the Palghar lynching case, has been ‘browbeating” the police by “creating fear psychosis”.
The fresh plea filed by a Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai police on May 2 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”, PTI reported.
The top court, on April 24, had granted protection against any coercive steps for three weeks to Goswami in connection with some FIRs lodged against him in various states for alleged defamatory statements made during the news shows on the Palghar mob-lynching of three persons including two saints in Maharashtra.
The apex court had transferred a case lodged against Goswami from Nagpur to Mumbai and stayed the investigation in other similar criminal cases. It had asked the Mumbai police to probe the FIR of 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.
The application, filed through Maharashtra lawyer Sachin Patil, has also sought a direction to restrain the news anchor from “abusing the interim protection”.
The police has narrated the sequence of FIRs and investigation carried out in them so far and referred to a news show on the Hindi channel of the media house and said “The statement on his debate on his Republic Bharat channel are aimed at browbeating, terrorising and intimidating the investigating officer”.
The plea referred to certain tweets and the contents of the news show and said, “the petitioner had gone on air narrating his story and also carried his entourage of reporters, cameraman etc inside police station where he virtually commanded the police to do certain things and act in a certain way….”.
The Maharashtra government said in his debate show “Puchta Hai Bharat”, Goswami made various “False statements” against the Commissioner of Mumbai Police including that he was involved with India Bulls, which is a scam and that he was investigating India bulls.
Goswami in the programme also stated that many officers of Mumbai police was involved with India Bulls.
The Maharashtra government said that tweets by Goswami’s channel created an impression that the police are biased against him and the police are investigating only the FIR against him, and that police was covering up for the FIR registered by Goswami alleging attack.
It said that the police are also investigating Goswami’s FIR alleging attack and have not covered up the matter. “The events, facts and circumstances show an extremely disturbing state of affairs and the impunity with which the petitioner has denigrated the institution of police at large and the investigating agency entrusted with the probe into the cases.
“The series of events shows the extent to which the petitioner has used, abused and misused his position as a journalist and the editor-in-chief of the Republic TV.”
Though the petitioner appeared before the investigating agency on April 27, he has repeatedly used his position as as his channel to make unjustified and unwarranted disparaging, ridiculing, false (as per record) and derogatory statements against the police including the commissioner of police,” the state government said.
It said that the statements made by Goswami in the debate on his channel are aimed at “browbeating, terrorising and intimidating” the investigation officer.
“This appears to be aimed solely at browbeating the investigating officers by creating a fear psychosis that they would also face dire consequences and would be publicly ridiculed, if they proceed for investigations in the two FIRs, one lodged by the petitioner and one against him, against his dictates,” it said.
Earlier, the senior journalist had moved the apex court seeking quashing of the Complaints/FIRs filed against him by Congress leaders in different states across the country.
In his plea, Goswami had also sought direction that no cognisance of any complaint would be taken by any court nor any fresh FIR registered by the police. He also sought security for family members and colleagues of his channels.