Court to hear Alibaug cops' plea for Arnab's custody on Nov 9

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(Eds: adding arguments) Mumbai, Nov 7 (PTI) The sessions court at Alibaug in Maharashtra's Raigad district will hear on November 9 the police's plea challenging a magistrate's order which denied them the custody of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in a 2018 abetment of suicide case.

The Alibaug Chief Judicial Magistrate on November 4 had remanded Goswami and two other accused in judicial remand till November 18, saying no custodial interrogation was needed.

The police filed a revision plea against the order in the district sessions court.

When informed that the Bombay High Court was hearing petitions filed by Goswami and co-accused Feroze Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda seeking interim bail, the sessions court on Saturday adjourned the hearing to November 9.

A case was registered against Goswami and other two following suicide by architect-interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother in 2018. The purported suicide note cited non- payment of dues by the accused's firms as the reason.

The case was closed by the police in 2019.

But in May this year, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh announced that he had ordered a fresh probe in the case after a complaint by Adnya Naik, daughter of Anvay Naik.

During the brief arguments, special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat told the sessions court that the magistrate had erred by not considering several material facts which justified custodial interrogation of the accused persons.

The prosecutor said the `A' Summary report submitted by the police in 2019 seeking to close the case was illegal.

'The magistrate, before accepting the closure report should have given the complainant (Naik's family) an opportunity to respond or file protest petition. This was not done,' Gharat said.

The court should remand Goswami and others in police custody as 'custodial interrogation was required to take the case to its logical end', he said.

On November 9, the sessions court will hear the accused's lawyers.

Goswami is presently kept at a local school, which has been designated as a COVID-19 centre for the Alibaug prison, while the high court has reserved its order on his bail plea.