No bail yet for Arnab, hearing in HC to continue Saturday

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There was no immediate relief for Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, arrested in a 2018 abetment of suicide case, on Friday as the hearing on his interim bail plea before the Bombay High Court remained incomplete.

The court on Saturday will continue to hear his petition seeking interim bail and challenging his arrest in connection with the suicide of architect-interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother.

Goswami was arrested in the case by Alibaug police in neighbouring Raigad district on Wednesday, and a magistrate’s court there remanded him in judicial custody till November 18.

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik heard arguments by his lawyers Harish Salve and Aabad Ponda on Friday, but said the hearing will continue on Saturday for paucity of time.

“We will assemble for this matter tomorrow at noon. Since regular court work will not be there tomorrow, we can hear this matter at length,” the HC said. The high court normally does not assemble on Saturdays.

  The bench, during the hearing, noted that the normal practice when seeking bail is to first approach the concerned lower court  magistrate or sessions court — and move the high court if bail is refused.

To this, Salve said section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) gives the high court special powers to hear bail pleas.

“His (Goswami’s) liberty is at stake,” Salve said.

Advocate Ponda said a bail application was filed before the magistrate’s court in Alibaug the same night Goswami was remanded in judicial custody.

“However, the application was withdrawn the next day as the magistrate had not given clarity on when it would be heard and had also expressed difficulty in deciding the plea as the case lies in the jurisdiction of the sessions court,” Ponda said.

Goswami was arrested on November 4 from his Lower Parel residence here and taken to Alibaug. The chief judicial magistrate there remanded him and co-accused Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda in judicial custody.

Goswami is presently kept at a local school which has been designated as a COVID-19 centre for the Alibaug prison.

The HC on Saturday will also hear petitions filed by Shaikh and Sarda, seeking similar relief.