Maharashtra govt accuses Arnab Goswami of interfering with probe, moves SC

The Maharashtra government has accused senior journalist Arnab Goswami of interfering with the probe against him by using his tweets and television debates to browbeat the Mumbai Police.

In an application moved before the top court, the state sought urgent orders to restrain the journalist from engaging in such acts that creates a “fear psychosis” among the force impeding their ability to probe the case without fear or favour.

Goswami faces multiple complaints of inciting hatred among religious groups, which are now being probed under a single complaint at the NM Joshi Marg police station in Mumbai.

What has prompted the state to approach the Supreme Court is an order of April 24 by which police cannot take any coercive action against Goswami for three weeks. The direction came on a petition by Goswami who sought clubbing of multiple cases against him along with protection from arrest.

The fresh application by the state said, “Petitioner (Goswami) considers indulgence granted by this Court as some kind of a license to indulge in unwarranted sensationalism and to ridicule, denigrate, and defame the police department and its officers.”

The application seeks a restraint order against Goswami from indulging in such acts that tantamount to interference with the investigation. A further direction has been sought asking Goswami not to abuse the indulgence granted to him by the court on April 24 and cooperate with the investigation.

The application filed by advocate Sachin Patil states that the series of tweets against the police emerged after April 26 when Goswami was called by the police to join the probe. He was upset that the police was unnecessarily questioning him in connection with the FIR against him.

He also alleged that the police did not act on his complaint of April 23 when two bike-borne men attacked his car while returning from work.

The application stated that the television show hosted by Goswami on April 28 showed the Commissioner of Police in bad light by making false charges against him. Accusing him of making a “media spectacle” of the case against him, the application said, “The act and conduct of the petitioner would tantamount to encroaching upon the area of investigation (sole prerogative of the police) as also subjecting the entire criminal justice system to ridicule.”

Goswami has also been accused of carrying out a “vicious propaganda” against the police by abusing his journalistic freedom to malign the police force and its chief using false allegations.

Incidentally, Goswami has filed a second petition in the apex court with regard to a fresh FIR lodged against him on May 2, seeking similar relief from arrest. This case emanates out of his telecast which accused people of one community crowding at Bandra on April 15-16.

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