Mumbai: In an unprecedented move, Governor BS Koshyari on Monday spoke to Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, to express his concern over the security and health of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, who is currently in Taloja jail. Koshyari also asked Deshmukh to allow Goswami's family to meet him. Earlier, the governor had conveyed his concern over the manner of Arnab’s arrest to Deshmukh. However, the Nationalist Congress Party has criticised the governor for sympathising with an accused arrested in an abetment-to-suicide case.
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has, however, rejected the governor's directive asking him to allow Goswami's family to meet him in jail. Deshmukh said, ‘‘Arnab is safe and well. I got a call from the governor. However, Goswami's family cannot visit him in jail, as it is prohibited because of the present coronavirus crisis. However, his family members can speak to him over the phone.’’
Deshmukh alleged that the BJP-led government at the Centre and in Maharashtra is playing politics in Arnab’s case. ‘‘The matter is before the court. Lawyers for both parties are defending their sides. Whatever happens will be decided in the court. Whatever happens will be legal.’’
Koshyari’s move comes a day after Arnab was shifted to Taloja jail from a makeshift quarantine centre-turned-jail in Alibaug after police claimed that Goswami had been active on social media from a mobile phone while in judicial custody. Further, his lawyers had allegedly claimed that they were not allowed to meet their client.
Further, former chief minister and BJP MP Narayan Rane had said, should anything happen to Goswami, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government would be responsible.
However, the Nationalist Congress Party has slammed the Governor, saying that it would have been better had he shown sympathy to the family of the deceased interior designer Anvay Naik, instead of one accused in a serious crime. Arnab had been arrested last week in connection with the 2018 deaths of Anvay and his mother.
The Minister for Minority Affairs and NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik reacted sharply to the governor's move. “It would have been better had the governor had shown sympathy to the Naik family, instead of the accused arrested for a serious offence,’’ he noted.
“In a state where the government is responsible for the life and health of every prisoner, inmates are also allowed to visit relatives. But the governor sympathises with Arnav Goswami. It was not right to take the side of an accused and not that of a family which has been seeking justice for months together,’’ said Malik.