The Bombay High Court in a special sitting on Saturday issued notice to the State of Maharashtra in Adnya Naik's petition alleging that the investigating officer in the previous investigation, wherein proceedings of abetment to suicide in relation to FIR against Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami and two others were closed, had tried to protect the accused by "maliciously fabricating records and documents."
Petitioner is the 28-year-old daughter of Anvay Naik, who along with his mother Kumud Naik committed suicide and in a suicide note stating that they have decided to take the extreme step on account of payments due to them not being cleared by the owners of three companies – Republic Tv Chief Arnab Goswami, Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia and Niteish Sarda of Smartworks.
Raigad police arrested Goswami early in the morning on November 4, and he was thereafter remanded to judicial custody for 14 days by CJM, Alibag.
The petitioner has made serious allegations against the previous investigating officer SHO, Alibag at the relevant time, Suresh Varade. The petition alleges that Suresh Varade reached at the scene of the offence around 8:40 am and saw the deceased Kumud Naik and Anvay Naik both lying unconscious. However, he chose to wait to move Kumud Naik and Anvay Naik to the Civil Hospital, Alibag till the petitioner and her mother arrived around 2:30 pm, until then it was too late as they were declared dead upon arrival. Petition states-
"Such critical time of more than 7 hours was wasted without any treatment for which no explanation is provided and clearly there was no attempt to revive the unconscious Kumud Naik or to revive the father of the petitioner Anvay Naik."
The petitioner has contended that by virtue of certain non-payments by certain clients of her father, there was under tremendous pressure for payment to his creditors and sometimes he (Anvay Naik) expressed his frustration of finishing his own life. He was then advised about meditation by the petitioner's mother (Akshata Naik).
According to the petitioner, on May 4, 2018 Anvay Naik left along with his mother Kumud Naik for Alibaug at their farm house in village Kawir, Taluka Alibaug, District Raigad for the settlement of certain business transactions. Then, on May 5, 2018 at around 9:15 am, petitioner received a call from Alibag calling them immediately to their farmhouse in village Kawir, Taluka Alibaug. They were told that Kumud Naik was in an unconscious state.
Accordingly, petitioner and her mother left Mumbai and reached around 2:30 pm where they were informed that the petitioner's father and grandmother had committed suicide.
Allegations Against The Police And Previous IO
According to the petitioner, prior to their arrival at the farm house, the officers of the Alibaug Police Station had already arrived at around 8:40 am and apparently moved Kumud Naik and Anvay Naik from their alleged original positions. Petitioner was told by officer Suresh Varade, that her grandmother was unconscious and then only after the arrival of the petitioner and her mother, both Anvay Naik and Kumud Naik were moved to the civil hospital Alibag. With regard to the investigation that followed,
That after much reluctance and resistance to register FIR from SHO Alibaug Police Inspector. Suresh Varade, FIR was registered through the petitioner's mother Akshata Anvay Naik as the informant in Alibaug police station. The investigation was done by him. Later IO Suresh Varade even tried to obtain the signature of informants on a certain statement stating that they had filed the FIR falsely and that it was a false allegation out or misconception.
That there was no communication about the fate of the said FIR, the matter was followed by the petitioner's mother till as late as March 2020 with the IO and even the Superintendent of Police, Raigad, Anil Paraskar.
Thereafter, petitioner posted her grievances in a post on social media and someone on behalf of the accused replied that the matter had already been closed by the competent court of law i.e. Ld. Chief Judicial Magistrate of Alibag.
Prior to such a reply on twitter by the accused, neither the petitioner nor her mother was aware that any such closure had taken place in any court of law. Neither the officials of the respondents nor any court had informed the petitioner nor to her mother regarding this.
The Petitioner's advocate was told that the petitioner's matter has been summarized and all the papers including original orders of the Lower Court were sent to Alibag Police Station. Accordingly, the advocate applied to the Dy SP Alibag, but the copies were delayed by the officers of the SP Alibaug, at all stages.
On May 8, 2020 in the afternoon, petitioner's mother got a threat call from an unknown number stating that if she does not stop then her photos will be hung besides her husband's photo. Immediately the petitioner's mother called and informed and lodged a complaint at Dadar Police Station. However Petitioner on the same day received another and more terrifying call in which the caller threatened that he will kill petitioner and her mother in four days if they pursue their fight against accused and threatened to take this as a warning and to stop what they were doing, else he will send people to kill the petitioner and her mother. The petitioner states that the said complaint had been downplayed by the Dadar Police Station, however after requesting the superior officers, protection has been provided to the Petitioner and her mother.
The Petitioner learnt that an undated Final Report was presented to the CJM, Alibaug and Abate Summary was allowed by the order of the Court on February 21, 2019 and in her FIR, 'A' Summary report was filed before the same CJM, Alibaug, on April 16, 2019 and was allowed on April 16, 2019.
The petitioner filed writ petition, immediately thereafter the State Ministry for Home Affairs, directed reinvestigation in the matter by the State CID.
The petition states-
"It is necessary to reinvestigate the matter because as per the medical record Dr. Ajay Ingle informed PI Alibag at 1545 hrs. that at 1510 hrs. Kumud Naik was brought dead at the hospital. It is also a record that the doctor had informed PI Alibag at 1550 hrs. that Anvay Naik been brought by relatives at 1515 hrs. However it is surprising that the two ADRs (Accidental Death Register) were registered much before Kumud Naik and Anvay Naik were pronounced dead by the doctor (Ajay Ingle)."
Moreover, petitioner reiterated allegations against IO Varade-
"PI Varade has mentioned in the Police Report filed u/s 173 CrPC that he had issued notice to the accused Arnab Goswami to remain present before him on 30th May 2018 at Alibag Police Station and if that be so then why the SP Raigad Anil Paraskar verbally asked PI Varade to go to Mumbai for interrogation of accused Arnab Goswami instead of calling the accused Arnab Goswami for his interrogation at Alibag Police Station as required by law as PI Varade had so issued notice u/s. 160 to accused Arnab Goswami calling him to Alibaug Police Station
It is necessary to reinvestigate the matter because Arnab Goswami was not arrested though his name was mentioned in the suicide note, which is considered as a dying declaration and accused Arnab Goswami was let off by just recording his statement in Mumbai giving him ample opportunity to influence the nature of the investigation."
Also, PI Varade mentioned in the police report filed u/s 173 CrPC, that he was transferred from Alibag Police Station to Traffic Branch and he continued to conduct the investigation and he has filed the police report from Traffic Branch. It needs to be found out, on whose direction he continued the investigation, even after he was transferred from Alibag Police Station on 13th June 2018 to Traffic Branch, petition states.