October 14, 2020 2:16:35 am
The Mumbai Police on Saturday issued a showcause notice to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, asking him why he should not be made to sign a bond of good behaviour. He has been asked to present himself before the police on Friday evening.
The notice is in reference to two FIRs registered against Goswami earlier this year for allegedly showing content on his channel that could cause enmity between different communities, said police.
Late evening, Republic Media Network, in a statement, said, “The summons as well as the showcause notice issued to Arnab Goswami reeks of an openly spiteful and deeply motivated witch hunt by the state government of Maharashtra against a free press that holds the political dispensation accountable…”
This is the beginning of what the police termed “chapter proceedings” against Goswami. It is usually reserved for those creating nuisance in a particular area and give indications that they could turn into repeat offenders.
While a notice under Section 107 (security for keeping the peace in other cases) of the CrPC is issued for such proceedings, Goswami has been sent a notice under Section 108, which pertains to security of good behaviour from persons disseminating seditious matters.
If ACP (Worli division) Sudhir Jambavdekar – in whose jurisdiction Goswami lives in Mumbai – is not convinced by the reasons given by the anchor, he will be asked to sign a bond of good behaviour. If Goswami violates the conditions of the bond during a period of one year, he will have to pay a fine of Rs 10 lakh and can also be sent behind bars, a senior IPS officer said.
Mumbai Police had registered two FIRs against Goswami for allegedly causing enmity between two groups of people on the basis of two shows he hosted this year. While one show aired was about crowding outside Bandra railway station during lockdown, another was about the case in which two sadhus, along with their driver, were lynched by local residents in Palghar.
The notice issued by Jambhavdekar said, “It can be clearly seen that through your channel, you have put out content that can cause enmity between religious, caste groups.”
“It has been seen that on various debates on your channel, you put forth aggressive opinions that could lead to communal disharmony in the minds of the viewers watching the debates,” it added.
The notice mentioned that there was a high probability that Goswami would continue to put out such content, which could lead to law and order problems. Accordingly, he has been asked to appear before the ACP on Friday along with a surety.
Repeated calls and messages to Goswami went unanswered.
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