Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami on Thursday made three desperate attempts to get interim bail within half-a-day but all of these proved futile. The Bombay High Court finally agreed to hear his plea and pass an "appropriate order" on Friday.
After withdrawing his bail applications filed before the magistrate court in Alibaug and also a sessions court, Arnab petitioned a bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Makarand Karnik, seeking interim bail on Thursday.
The judges, however, clarified that they "won't pass any order without hearing the state and also the Naik family," which has lodged a complaint against Arnab for abetting the suicide of architect Anvay Naik.
Even as the judges indicated that they would not pass any orders for interim bail, senior counsels Harish Salve and Abad Ponda were insistent for such orders and, initially, sought seven minutes to "satisfy the judicial conscience of the bench" that a citizen had been put in illegal custody.
In his submissions, Ponda argued that police had illegally picked up Arnab without any magistrate's order since the 2018 suicide case was closed by the police and it was reopened only in last month. "A dead case cannot be resurrected like this. There has been no application citing fresh material to open this case, before a magistrate. Neither have they challenged the earlier case closure report," Ponda argued.Arguing in his usual, persuasive style, Salve insisted the bench release his client on the basis of interim orders, saying not even a single second of the illegal custody could be countenanced.
"Heavens will not fall in this state of Maharashtra if my client is released on interim bail," Salve argued.
Notably, both the counsels argued for over an hour for interim bail, without the bench issuing any notice to the state or the complainant - Naik's wife.
Subsequently, Justice Shinde clarified that the court could not pass an order by merely hearing one side.
"We have to give an equal opportunity to all the contesting parties. Let everyone be given a chance and only then we can consider passing an interim order. This can go beyond Diwali vacations," Justice Shinde opined.
However, Ponda urged the bench that he might make Naik's wife a party to his petition and the court could hear her, as well as the state, on Friday.
Senior counsels Amit Desai and Shirish Gupte, appearing for the state and Naik's family, informed the bench that they would argue on interim bail on Friday afternoon, after which the judges adjourned the matter.
Notably, Arnab had initially moved bail plea before the Alibaug Magistrate; however, the court said it would take "reasonable time" to hear his matter. He accordingly withdrew his application and moved a sessions court, which too had said it would follow due procedure, by issuing notices to all the parties and listening to all of them.
"We don't want other parties to waste time by seeking adjournments, due to which our client would suffer in custody. Thus, we have petitioned this court for bail and stay on the probe," Ponda told the HC bench.
The matter will be taken up for hearing on Friday at 3pm.
Meanwhile, Alibaug Police filed a revision application on Thursday in the Raigad sessions court against the order of a magistrate court on Wednesday remanding Arnab and his co-accused in the Anvay Naik abetment-to-suicide case to judicial custody. The plea by the police stated the magistrate court had erred in not considering the submissions and grounds submitted by it while seeking custody. In its order rejecting the demand for police custody, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Sunayana S Pingale had said that there was no recovery from the accused and whatever had been recovered was from the deceased and the complainant. She noted that the connection of the accused with the incident was not prima-facie established. Police had submitted an 'A-summary' report in the case, she said and now that it was going to re-investigate the case, no cogent reason had been given for the need for police custody for the purpose. The order also stated that the independent role of the accused persons had yet to be established by police.