Congress targets Arnab Goswami over 2018 abetment of suicide case

Goswami, two others were booked after suicides of an interior designer, his mother

akshita arnab A collage of Askhita Naik (left) and Arnab Goswami | Via Twitter

The Maharashtra unit of the Congress has been among the most vocal wings of the party in its confrontation with Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami. In late April, Satyajeet Tambe, the president of the Maharashtra Youth Congress, submitted a petition to police to file an FIR against Goswami for allegedly spreading "communal hatred through his TV show and spreading fake news". The party's animosity towards Arnab Goswami was exacerbated by provocative comments by him against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi over the Palghar lynching.

Now, it appears the Maharashtra unit of the Congress is seeking to target Arnab Goswami over the suicide of an interior designer and his mother in 2018.

Arnab Goswami and two others were booked by the Alibaug Police in May 2018 for allegedly abetting the suicide of 53-year-old interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother. Anvay Naik was the managing director of Concorde Designs Private Limited. Anvay Naik and his mother allegedly committed suicide in May 2018 in their farmhouse in Alibaug. In a suicide note, Anvay Naik claimed Goswami and the other two persons—Feroz Shaikh and Niteish Sarda—owed him a total of Rs 5.4 crore. The Times of India had then reported Arnab Goswami had allegedly not paid Rs 83 lakh for a design project of a studio.

Republic TV had then dismissed the charges as the work of vested interests and declared it had paid all dues for the design contract.

On May 5, the Maharashtra unit of the Congress party tweeted a video by Akshita Naik, the wife of Anvay Naik. The video appeared to have been made to mark two years of the suicide of Anvay Naik and his mother. In the 2.4-minute-long video, most of which is in Marathi, Akshita appeals for support from all Indians to get justice for her and warns "If anything happens to me and my daughter, then solely Arnab Goswami, Anil Paraskar and Suresh Warade would be responsible”. Anil Paraskar was the superintendent of police of Raigad at the time of the suicides while Suresh Warade was senior police inspector in Alibaug.

Akshita alleges in this video that Warade had warned her at the time of filing the FIR that “many powerful people are involved” and asked her to deliberate before filing charges. She claimed her family has not gotten laptops or phones they had given for the investigation two years ago. Akshita Naik added her family were able to get the suicide note back after much persistence.

Another video of Akshita Naik, speaking in English, is also being circulated on social media. In the video, Akshita says Arnab Goswami is the "culprit" behind her husband's death. In this video, Akshita Naik claimed Republic TV was her husband's "last creation", and involved hundreds of workers working day and night on the studio. In this video, Akshita asks Suresh Warade for answers on the FIR lodged over her complaint two years ago.

The Maharashtra Congress handle tweeted, "Mrs.Akshata Naik has alleged that her entrepreneur husband and her mother in law had to commit suicide due to non payment of dues from Mr. Arnab Goswami's @republic. This is serious and needs further investigation."

Gaurav Pandhi, national coordinator of the Congress's social media operations, tweeted "the BJP Govt at that time hushed the matter under the carpet. Now his wife demands justice!" Pandhi sought the arrest of Goswami.