Mumbai: In what is an act of clear malice, Arnab Goswami has been summoned by the Mumbai Police at the Pydhonie Police Station on 10 June, 2020.
Arnab Goswami is being summoned over his coverage of the incident of crowds gathering in Bandra on 14th April. Arnab Goswami’s broadcast exposed how the entire gathering was orchestrated to create a law & order problem. It is a matter of public record that following Arnab Goswami’s reportage, the accused Vinay Dubey who was provoking mobs to gather was arrested by the Mumbai Police. It is pertinent to mention how a deep investigation by Arnab Goswami and his team proved that it was all a pre-planned conspiracy. On 15th April, on his prime time show, he put out tapes that revealed how people were hired to create ruckus during the lockdown. Any attempt to create a law and order situation was brought to naught due to his & his network’s reportage. It appears that he is being punished for this coverage.
Arnab Goswami was previously interrogated for 12 hours 15 minutes: It is a matter of grave concern that the garb of a police investigation is being used to systematically harass and stifle the voice of a journalist. On 27th April 2020, Arnab Goswami was interrogated for over 12 hours 15 minutes by the Mumbai Police on the basis of an FIR filed by Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Mr. Nitin Raut with regard to the Palghar lynching case. Now in a shocking and malevolent abuse of power, they are trying to interrogate him again. In fact, even the Republic Media Network’s CFO Mr. S Sundaram is being summoned for interrogation in a brazen attempt to suppress, harass and almost punish all those associated with Arnab Goswami.
This attempted interrogation of Arnab Goswami is a prima facie case of violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution. It not only signals that free press guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution is under threat but actively jeopardises Arnab Goswami’s liberties as a citizen guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.
Arnab Goswami’s interrogation is a square result of vendetta by the Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra Government. The agenda appears to overwhelm and tire out a journalist who dared to question the handling of both the Palghar lynching case and the Covid crisis in the state, with a vicious cycle of FIRs, interrogation, and a litany of cases. It is crucial to note that on 2nd May 2020 the Maharashtra Government with a Mumbai Police DCP as the Deponent filed an Application in the Supreme Court making a false statement claiming Arnab Goswami on his show cast aspersions on the Mumbai Police Commissioner. The same was squarely dismissed by the apex court.
Misplaced priorities at a time the state is embattled with covid establish deep malice: The prejudicial action against Arnab Goswami comes at a time when the total positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Maharashtra have surpassed those of China at 88,528 cases, and Mumbai alone has reported 50,085 COVID-19 cases. The summons at this time endangers ordinary citizens and residents like Arnab Goswami by actively putting him in harm’s way. It also establishes how misplaced the priorities of the Maharashtra Government and the Mumbai Police are, at a time when they should be working to handle the pandemic. It is pertinent to mention that soon after the last time Arnab Goswami was interrogated on 27 April, his interrogator tested COVID positive. Therefore, the timing and repeated nature of the interrogations leave no doubt in the mind of any ordinary prudent person, that the state government is acting from a place of deep prejudice and vindictiveness.