Hawkish Indian television news anchor, known for strident nightly debates, arrested in Mumbai

Mr Goswami's arrest comes in the wake of a months-long tussle with the Mumbai police.
Mr Goswami's arrest comes in the wake of a months-long tussle with the Mumbai police.PHOTO: ARNAB GOSWAMI/TWITTER

BANGALORE - The Mumbai police arrested Indian new channel Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on Wednesday (Nov 4) morning in a two-year-old suicide case in which investigations were reopened recently.

As he was being taken into a police van, Mr Goswami shouted into news cameras that he and his family were assaulted inside his house.

Visuals telecast on Republic TV showed about 20 policemen around Mr Goswami's house. Another video showed him seated on a sofa, and a policeman pushing him.

His wife Mrs Samyabrata Ray said: "They thrashed Arnab and held him by his hair. Arnab said he wants his lawyer to come. They said that Arnab is being taken to the Raigad police station."

Mr Goswami's arrest comes in the wake of a months-long tussle with the Mumbai police. The hawkish news anchor is known for his strident nightly debates and positions favouring the Narendra Modi government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In Maharashtra, the BJP is in the opposition, and Mr Goswami has frequently taken on the state's local government and police. Most recently, he accused the police in Mumbai, the state capital, of botching up investigations into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June.

Although early medical reports deemed it a suicide, Mr Goswami insisted the actor was murdered. His English-language Republic TV channel and Hindi-language Republic Bharat ran high-pitched news reports for months, accusing the actor's girlfriend and her family of abetment to suicide, drug trafficking and money laundering.

Mr Goswami claimed that Republic TV's coverage of the issue boosted its viewership to record levels. But the Mumbai police filed a complaint against the channel and two others for rigging the rating system. The police also filed separate complaints against him for airing defamatory content and inciting religious tensions.

Mumbai police representatives said Mr Goswami has been arrested in connection with a May 2018 case for abetment of suicide of a 53-year-old interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother. The victims' family filed the case in Raigad, Maharashtra, claiming that the two killed themselves because Republic TV did not pay its dues to the designer.  

"Arnab Goswami is currently being taken to Raigad. He shall be interrogated by the investigating officer and the further course of action will be decided accordingly," Mr Sanjay Mohite, Inspector General of Konkan Range, where Raigad falls, told the Indian Express.

Soon after Mr Goswami's arrest, several ministers in the ruling BJP government in Delhi criticised it.

Industries minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted: "We condemn the attack on press freedom in Maharashtra. This is not the way to treat the Press."

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called it "seriously reprehensible, unwarranted and worrisome."