In a major relief to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to the controversial journalist and two others, Nitish Sarda and Parveen Rajesh Singh, in the 2018 abetment of suicide case. The trio have been released on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each.
The Supreme Court also asked the authorities to not delay the release of Arnab and others. "We don't want the release to be delayed and prison authorities should felicitate it," the court said.
The apex court also said that Arnab and two others shall not tamper with evidence and asked them to cooperate in the probe into the 2018 abetment of suicide case.
Hours after the court ordered his release, Arnab walked out the Taloja jail in Raigad district, at around 8.30 pm and waved to people assembled outside from the vehicle carrying him, saying he was thankful to the Supreme Court for granting him bail. He flashed the victory sign and said, "this is the victory of the people of India."
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court questioned the Maharashtra government and said that it would be a travesty of justice if personal liberty of a person is curtailed like this.
A vacation bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee said if state governments target individuals, they must realise then that there is apex court to protect the liberty of citizens.
The top court expressed concern over state governments targeting some individuals on the basis of ideology and difference of opinion.
We are seeing case after case where high courts are not granting bail and failing to protect personal liberty of people, the bench said while hearing Goswami's plea seeking interim bail in the case of alleged abetment to suicide of an interior designer in 2018.
The bench asked Maharashtra whether there was any need for custodial interrogation of Arnab, saying the issue pertains to personal liberty.
It observed that Indian democracy is extraordinarily resilient and the Maharashtra government must ignore all this (Arnab's taunt on TV).
Arnab has challenged the Bombay High Court's November 9 order refusing to grant him and two others interim bail in the case and asking them to move the trial court for relief.
The three accused were arrested by Alibaug police in Maharashtra's Raigad district on November 4 in connection with the suicide of architect-interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother in 2018 over alleged non-payment of dues by companies of the accused.
The high court, while rejecting the interim bail pleas of Goswami and two other accused Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda, had said, "no case has been made out for us (court) to exercise our extraordinary jurisdiction".
Apart from seeking the interim bail, the journalist and other accused had also sought a direction from the high court for staying the investigation into the case and quash the FIR against them.
The high court will hear their pleas seeking to quash the FIR on December 10.
He and the two other accused were later produced before a magistrate who refused to send them in police custody and remanded them in judicial custody till November 18.
Arnab was initially kept at a local school which is designated as a COVID-19 quarantine centre for the Alibaug prison. He was on Sunday shifted to the Taloja jail in Raigad district after allegedly being found using a mobile phone while in judicial custody....