In a big relief to Arnab Goswami, the Bombay High Court has refused to entertain a plea to ban him from TV days after Kavita Kaushik and Saif Ali Khan’s co-star Kubbra Sait slammed the Republic TV founder for his recent shenanigans. Justice PC Chavan, according to news agency PTI, refused to entertain the petition filed by Congress leaders Bhai Jagtap and Suraj Thakur saying that an FIR had already been registered against Goswami and probe was underway.
The two Congress leaders had approached the high court seeking to restrain Goswami from anchoring his high-octane TV debates and direction for police to file a case against him and the channel’s management for allegedly spreading communal hatred.
They alleged that Goswami was attempting to disrupt communal harmony in the country through his TV broadcast and defaming Congress President Sonia Gandhi during a debate on the Palghar lynchings.
Both Bhai Jagtap and Suraj Thakur also informed the court that the Mumbai Police had interrogated some senior colleagues of Goswami on the same issue. However, Justice Chavan observed that it would not be correct at this stage for the court to direct the police to declare a particular person an accused. He said that police were free to declare anyone accused based on evidence on that individual’s involvement.
Three men were lynched to death in Maharashtra’s Palghar last month. Among those killed were also two Hindu monks. Goswami had desperately attempted to give the murder a communal colour even though Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh confirmed that the killers of the two Hindu monks were not from a different religion. Goswami had also mocked Sonia Gandhi by hurling insults at her.
Petitioners’ lawyer Rahul Kamerkar informed the high court that Goswami’s show had tried to give political and religious motives to the Palghar lynching.
Congress supporters and leaders had filed over 150 FIRs in several states including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir after Goswami ran his controversial TV debates on 21 April. Fearing arrest, Goswami had moved the Supreme Court, which provided him a three-week protection from the arrest. The immunity granted to Goswami ends today (14 May). The top court is expected to pass an order on Goswami’s second application seeking the quashing of another FIR filed against him for his questionable coverage of the gathering of migrant workers in Mumbai’s Bandra area.
Goswami was seen to be adding a dangerous communal colour to the Bandra story by repeatedly referring to the existence of a mosque near Bandra station. The mosque in question had no relevance to the gathering of migrant workers.
Earlier, FIR actress Kavita Kaushik, Mulk director Anubhav Sinha and Saif Ali Khan’s co-star Kubbra Sait had criticised Goswami for his recent shenanigans.