Mumbai: Acting in a manner reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia and far exceeding what the nation went through during the draconian emergency clamped by Indira Gandhi to perpetuate her rule 45 years ago, a Mumbai police team, in the morning of Wednesday 4 November, landed at the residence of Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief and sole promoter of Republic World, India’s most watched TV news Channel, kicked the entrance, barged in, assaulted Arnab, arrested and dragged him into the police vehicle.
The working of Maharashtra Police and the assault on Arnab Gowami is being viewed as an assault on the freedom of press by the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP government led by Uddhav Thackeray.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has condemned Goswami’s arrest and said it smacks of fascism.
People have come out in full support of Goswami across the country and raising the demand for immediate dismissal of Thackeray Government.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has blasted Congress and its allies saying they have “they have shamed democracy once again”
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has strongly condemned Goswami’s arrest and said this is a move of the Congress and the Maharashtra government to crush democracy and crush freedom of expression.
The Maharashtra government has committed the sin of crushing freedom of expression by the barbaric action against the country’s eminent journalist Arnab Goswami, Madhya Pradesh CM observed.
Arnab has been crusading and hosting TV debates on the lack of proper investigation by the Mumbai Police into the mysterious death of popular film actor Sushant Singh Rajput, his former manager Disha Salian, and also the mob lynching and murder of Sadhus in the presence of Maharastra cops.
Matters were worst confounded when even before launching investigations, the Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh told a press conference that Arnab’s Republic TV was involved in manipulating TV viewership for increasing TRP. This when the FIR in this matter named India Today and there was no mention in it of Republic TV. Later the Police lodged an FIR against the entire editorial staff of Republic TV and began asking for minutest of company account details and editorial passwords and even started hauling up the journalists for interrogation. Although the journalists fully cooperated, they were treated at the police station as if they were under detention.
In between Republic TV also got evidence that some citizens had been threatened and coerced by Mumbai police to sign on the dotted line to say they had received money from Republic TV to hike their viewership rating. In between stories, quoting police sources started appearing in different sections of the rival media accusing Republicv TV of receiving Rs 32 lakh from Hansa company for manipulating its TV rating.
While Republic TV was fighting against all this, matters took a turn for the worst when a media group on Tuesday 3 November 2020 went ahead and once, more citing police sources, published a report alleging that Republic TV was the hub of havala in Mumbai.
According to available information, Goswami’s arrest is in connection with a 2018 suicide case that was already closed but has been opened once again with the intervention of the Maharashtra Home Minister. Goswami is accused of abetting the suicide of an interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother.