Bad News For Maharashtra Government:
Arnab Goswami, the Editor of Republic TV has been granted bail by the Supreme Court yesterday. That is bad news for the autocratic Government of Maharashtra but there is more bad news. Supreme Court has not disposed off the petition and as per web site of Supreme Court SLP(Crl) No. 005598 – 005598/2020 (Crl.A. No. 000742 – 000742/2020) is still pending. It means a detailed order shall be passed later on. Order of Supreme Court dated 11 November granting bail to Arnab can be read here.
It is good that Supreme Court took notice of the grave error committed by the High Court which is the last sentinel of Constitutional Rights in a State. The Order dated 9th November 2020 passed by Maharashtra (Bombay) High Court is a classic example of how judgment should not be written. As rightly observed by the Supreme Court, in the course of hearing that High Court had time to write 57 pages of judgment on various issues but it did not consider the question of personal liberty even for once. Not once did the High Court asked the police why it arrested Arnab in a two years old case, suddenly. It did not pose the question that Bail is the rule and Jail is an exception. It did not ask for subjective satisfaction of the Investigating Officer recording need to arrest the accused. Worse, even yesterday, the State of Maharashtra could not and did not claim that Arnab was a security threat or that he was a flight risk.
The CBI on Sunday took over the investigation into the alleged gang rape and assault that led to the death of a 19-year-old woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. The accused has complained to police that it was a case of honour killing by the mother and brother of the deceased. When politicians selectively choose to exploit crime for political brownie point, truth can be anything.
The police had for past week searching a missing relative who was staying with the family from 16th September. (The incident happened on 14th September) The search led it to Medical College, Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh and it turned out that missing relative is now ‘naxal bhabhi’ trending on social media and she is a forensic professional.
Madhya Pradesh’s Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College has initiated an enquiry into the conduct of Dr Rajkumari Bansal, a forensic specialist from the institute who according to some media outlets was living with the victim’s family “posing as a relative”. The reports alleged she had links with Naxalism. The college said she “went on leave without information”.
Conflict of interest:
Presence of any forensic expert not sponsored or permitted by investigation agency is a serious lapse in investigation. It is also a serious attempt to sabotage the investigation. This may be the first but if this is not dealt seriously it may soon may become norm with criminal calling for forensic help to wipe clean the crime scene.
Apart from that, this social media is a buzz with pictures of this forensic expert with politicians who only play identity politics. If that be true, it may be part of a big play being planned by those people. They must also be investigated and their call records checked to see who gave instructions to the Bansal to reach Hathras.
Meanwhile several police teams from Mathura have been dispatched to Malappuram district in Kerala and elsewhere to investigate the journalist and three others booked under the anti-terror law UAPA and charged with sedition for allegedly conspiring to cause caste riots in the state. The four accused — Siddiqui Kappan, a journalist with a Malayalam-language news site in Delhi, Atikur Rahman of Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmad from Bahraich and Aalam from Rampur — were detained on October 5 while on their way to Hathras.
From Kerala to Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh, the network of riot mongers is very vast. It needs to be broken down, like yesterday.
Filing of a false FIR is an offence:
Section 211 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides that false accusation of offence is itself an offence for which there is a punishment of imprisonment upto seven years and fine. This is the provision:
False charge of offence made with intent to injure.—Whoever, with intent to cause injury to any person, institutes or causes to be instituted any criminal proceeding against that person, or falsely charges any person with having committed an offence, knowing that there is no just or lawful ground for such proceeding or charge against that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both;
and if such criminal proceeding be instituted on a false charge of an offence punishable with
death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for seven years or upwards, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
This is the reason that politicians file petitions in Supreme Court and High Courts alleging corruption but they do no file complaint with the police. Remember Rafale and the jibe of Rahul Gandhi? This why never filed a proper complaint with police. But Mumbai police is so great that it has found a way to file FIR without implicating itself. Read the English translation of FIR No. 843 of 2020 against India TV on the website of Republic TV here.
It starts with the narration that “Today on 6th October 2020 Assistant Police Inspector Mr. Kazi has informed me that on the basis of secret information“. Now the complainant has no information and Mr. Kazi who has information is not the complainant. Why? Obviously to escape the liability of section 211 quoted above.
How can Police pronounce verdict of guilt when it has not even registered an FIR and commenced investigation?
Republic TV is a free to air Indian news channel launched in May 2017. It was co-founded by and Arnab Goswami and ruling party BJP’s MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who relinquished his stake in May 2019, leaving Goswami the majority stakeholder. Mumbai Police had earlier registered an FIR and summoned Arnab and his CFO after he had called Sonia Gandhi the President of Congress Party by her maiden name Antonio Maino.
AajTak is part of India Today group which was founded with a magazine in 1975-76, during emergency when other magazines were shutting shop due to press censorship. Aroon Purie was founder of this magzine though he was named as publisher and his father as owner. Read about Aroon Purie, here on wikipedia.
On 2 February 2019, Arnab launched Republic Bharat as it Hindi Channel in direct conflict with Aaj Tak which was number one on TRP ratings. Both Channels are engaged in TRP war for last three months. While English Republic TV has acquired 77% ratings demolishing all other English news channels, it has also overtaken Hindi Aaj Tak by it’s Bharat and is at the top now for over one month. This means huge revenue fall for other TV Channels.
Drug laws in India are very strict. If prosecution makes out the foundation of charge against an accused, burden of proving innocence is upon the accused. The judge before granting bail has to assure itself that accused appears to be innocent. This position under NDPS law is different from ordinary laws of the land. (For more on Criminal Laws of India read my book here)
Bail in Narcotics case:
The exercise of power to grant bail by the Special Judge is not only subject to the limitations prescribed by Section 439 of Central Cr.P.C. but is also subject to the limitations prescribed by Sec.37 which opens with non-obstante clause. Under section 37 of the Act bail to an accused, who is alleged to have committed an offence under section 19, 24 or 27A and also for offences involving commercial quantity cannot be granted unless the two conditions enumerated in the section are satisfied.
The first condition is that the prosecution must be given an opportunity to oppose the application and second that the court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that s/he is not guilty of such offence. If either of these two conditions is not satisfied, bail cannot be granted.
Charges against Rhea Chakraborty:
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has alleged that actress Rhea Chakraborty (Rhea Chakraborty) was an active member of the drug syndicate, which included many well-known people and drug suppliers from high societies. NCB has said that Riya Chakraborty is accused of promoting drugs consumption by late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.