Attack on Press Freedom, Political Vendetta, or Justice for Anvay Naik? What’s the Truth Behind Arnab Goswami’s Arrest?


Attack on Press Freedom, Political Vendetta, or Justice for Anvay Naik? What’s the Truth Behind Arnab Goswami’s Arrest?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami’s arrest has triggered a massive debate around press freedom, dissent, and the fourth pillar of democracy. However, for late Anvay Naik’s wife, this is about justice. Goswami has been arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother.Naik’s wife Akshita has thanked the Maharashtra police for initiating action. “I kept a lot of patience. Although my husband and mother-in-law will not come back with this but they are still alive for me,” told ANI.

Akshita Naik posted a video message in August, calling out Goswami for his coverage in the Sushant Singh Rajput case. In the video, she claimed that the anchor was responsible for the suicides in her family and that the case was prematurely closed by the previous government. “What is happening to my case? When will justice be granted to our family? Why is there still no action?” she had asked.

Now, two years after the interior designer’s death, the case has been reopened and it led to Goswami’s arrest. Anvay Naik and his mother died by suicide at their house in Alibaug in May 2018. In his note, Anvay had said that he and his mother had decided to take this extreme step because of overdue unpaid payments and had named Arnab Goswami of Republic TV, Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia and Neetish Sarda of Smartworks as being the cause of his death.

The note reportedly claimed that the three companies owed Naik’s Concorde Designs Pvt Ltd a total sum of ₹5.4 crore. During their investigation, police found that Anvay was in deep debt and was unable to pay back contractors.

In a statement, Republic TV claimed that all relevant dues – amounting to 90 per cent of the total value of the contract – had been paid. The channel also said that it had made attempts to make a full and final settlement with Naik’s wife Akshata and daughter Adnya, but had not received a response from them.

Goswami’s arrest triggered a wave of response from Union ministers and journalists, with many calling it an attack on press freedom. But as details of the case emerge, the demand for justice for Anvay Naik has only grown.

Meanwhile, Goswami has been remanded to judicial custody for 14 days until November 18. His bail plea will be heard on Thursday.

While the debate rages on over “fascism” “political vendetta” after Goswami’s arrest, the consequences were very real for the family in the middle of this drama.