Arnab Goswami, two others do not appear before Raigad court

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Mumbai, Jan 7 (PTI) TV journalist Arnab Goswami, an accused in an abetment of suicide case, failedto appear before a court in Raigad district of Maharashtra on Thursday, prompting the prosecution to seek a warrant against him.

Alibaug Police had arrested Goswami and two others in the case related to interior designer Anvay Naik's alleged suicide in November 2020. They were later granted bail by the Supreme Court.

On Thursday, as the case came up before Alibaug sessions court, Goswami's lawyer sought exemption from appearance. The court granted exemption for the day.

The other two accused -- Firoze Sheikh and Nitish Sarda -- also did not appear.

Special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat took a strong exception, saying the accused should havebeen present for the purpose of identification as this was the first hearing after the court took cognizance of the chargesheet.

He also sought issuance of warrant against Goswami and the other two.

While keeping Gharat's plea pending, the court noted that as restrictions on account of coronavirus are in place till January 31, no coercive action can be taken.

The court posted the matter for hearing on February 6.

On that date, the accused will need to appear in person or through video conference, the prosecutor told PTI.

After taking cognizance of the police's charge sheet, the court had asked all the accused to appear on January 7.

The trio are facing a case under IPC sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 109 (punishment for abetment).

The charge sheet claims that Naik killed his mother, a partner in his business, and hanged himself at their Alibaug house in May 2018 as he was under stress due to non-payment of dues by the firms of the three accused.

Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV, alleged that the police reopened a case which had been closed in 2019 as the state government wanted to harass him. PTI AVI KRK KRK