Senior lawyer and Supreme Court Bar Association President Dushyant Dave on Tuesday, November 10 sought to understand from the Supreme Court registry how a bail appeal filed by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami was listed urgently for a hearing on Wednesday when similar cases have been pending for months.
Goswami, who is currently in judicial custody at the Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai, had moved the top court against the Bombay High Court's decision denying him interim bail in a case of abetment to suicide.
In a letter written to the SC secretary-general, Dave said that such extraordinarily urgent listings "cannot and does not take place" without specific orders from the Chief Justice of India.
Dave alleged that the special listing of matters that the SC registry was entertaining for the last eight months during the pandemic was a matter of serious concern. "Why is this selective listing taking place when the system is supposedly computerised and is to work automatically?" he asked.
Dave also pointed out that fewer court benches are in session daily and some of them are not sitting during court hours "due to unknown reasons or may be due to technological challenges".
"So, likes of Shri Goswami get special treatment," he said. "Ordinary Indians are made to suffer, including imprisonment, which are many times illegal and unauthorised," he wrote in the strong-worded letter.
He then urged that Goswami's plea should not be taken up unless all petitions with urgent hearing requests filed before November 10 are heard.
What Is The Case About?
Mumbai Police on November 4, detained Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami from his Mumbai home in connection with the death of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik in 2018.
In May 2018, a 53-year-old interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik died by suicide in Alibaug. A suicide note purportedly written by Anvay was recovered in which he alleged that Goswami and two others - Feroz Shaikh and Niteish Sarda - had not paid him due of ₹5.40 crore which resulted in deterioration of his financial health.
Republic TV at that time had dismissed all allegations of non-payment and attributed this to "malicious campaign".
The channel also claimed that all the money was paid by Republic TV to Concorde Designs. The monetary transaction had taken place during the construction of Republic TV studio.
The Alibaug police had filed a case of abetment to suicide in 2018, however, the case was closed by the Raigad Police in 2019.
In May 2020, Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh ordered a CID investigation into the case after Adnya Naik, daughter of Avnay Naik complained that the Alibaug police had not investigated the "non-payment of dues from Arnab Goswami's Republic".