The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies have led a blistering attack against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the saffron party claimed it was another Emergency to suppress the freedom of press and Expression in the wake of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami’s arrest. They also criticised the BJP for being selective on the freedom of press while not condemning its suppression in other states when journalists were arrested while discharging their duties.
Shiv Sena minister Anil Parab said the arrest had nothing to do with press freedom. "Arnab Goswami had duped a businessman Anvay Naik of money. Naik committed suicide due to financial distress. Arnab has been arrested for that."
He criticised the BJP for going all out in supporting Goswami and wondered whether he was a BJP worker. "Why are they shouting in his support? If they are on his side they should officially announce it,’’ he asked.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, "Proper procedure of law is followed in Maharashtra. Police can take action against anyone if they have evidence. The state government hasn't acted out of revenge. There is no anarchy in Maharashtra and law of the land is followed," he added.
Raut further noted, ‘’It is not a black day for the media. Journalists also should follow ethics. Media is not an investigating agency or court. This observation is of the highest court. We are all journalists. Whoever does anything wrong will be nabbed by the police."
Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik termed Goswami's arrest as "Part 2 of India's Most Wanted." He recalled the action against a TV crime show anchor who was charged with killing his wife. ‘’Here is Part 2 of India’s Most Wanted, another anchor doing the same is now responsible for suicide,’’ he added.
Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant also flayed the BJP for coming out in support of Goswami while not taking a similar stand in case of journalists who were arrested in the party-ruled states. ‘’Police is carrying out the probe after they got permission from the court. In 2018, FIR was filed against Goswami and two others but in 2019 the case was closed. Why police recorded Goswami’s statement in Mumbai. If the BJP is calling it an emergency then why did they remain silent when other journalists, writers, poets were attacked and sent to jail?’’ he asked.
Sawant further questioned why former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who held the home department, did not give justice to the Naik family.
Fadnavis, in his reaction, said, ‘’Arnab is paying the price of exposing every plot and move by Congress party to protect and encourage the ones instigating communal violence. Who is sheltering Tukde Tukde Gang and Palghar priest murderers? India wants an answer from Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.’’
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar said the Naik family must get justice but the cycle of events shows that the Thackeray government is taking action against Goswami with vendetta to cover up its misdeeds.