The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami’s plea seeking quashing of FIRs filed against him for allegedly disturbing communal harmony.Goswami told the apex court that the case against him is a concerted action by a political party against a journalist.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Goswami, said that a political party is targeting him. The top courts said the interim protection granted to Goswami on April 24 will continue until the pronouncement of its order.
Salve contended before a bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah that the probe should be taken away from the Mumbai police. The apex court had earlier stayed action on all the FIRs against Goswami, except one filed in Nagpur, and gave him three weeks' relief against coercive action.
These FIRs were registered against Goswami in various states after his programme on the Palghar mob lynching incident. It was alleged that he made a defamatory statement against Congress President Sonia Gandhi.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that this matter should be investigated by an agency.
"An offence prima facie has been made out, let this case be handled by an independent agency which does not need any insulation," Mehta submitted.He also said that this is the first case where the police want to get insulated from the accused.
The top court said the order on the matter will be pronounced later this week. Salve contended before the court that Goswami's 12-hour long interrogation was nothing short of "arm twisting tactic".
Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the state of Maharashtra, opposed the transfer of the probe to an independent agency saying that if this happens, then the investigation would lead to Goswami's favour.
This argument was objected by Mehta. Salve, citing the exchange between Sibal and Mehta, pressed for the transfer of probe, saying that it was apparent that Goswami was merely caught in a political crossfire between the Centre and the state.