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Thursday, December 03, 2020

Arnab Goswami arrested: ‘Accused were not linked to each other, did not drive Naik to suicide’

“The three accused who have been named work in different fields, locations and no link between the three has been established in investigation,” stated the closure report.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Updated: November 7, 2020 10:43:49 am
Arnab Goswami, Anvay Naik suicide case, abetment to suicide case arnab goswami, Arnab Goswami suicide case, mumbai police, mumbai city newsNaik's wife Akshata has complained about the police going to Mumbai to record Goswami's statement rather than giving him a notice to appear before the Alibaug police.

Arnab Goswami, Feroz Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda, the three persons named in the May 2018 suicide note by interior designer Anvay Naik, on the basis of which an abetment to suicide case was made out against the three, are not linked to each other in any way, and did not commit any act that made living unbearable for Naik or left him with no option but to commit suicide.

These are the reasons provided by the officer investigating the deaths of Naik and his mother for filing a ‘A Summary’ report before a magistrate’s court in Raigad last year in connection to the case registered against the three men in May 2018.

“The three accused who have been named work in different fields, locations and no link between the three has been established in investigation,” stated the closure report (accessed by The Indian Express) filed on April 16 by Inspector Suresh H Varade, who currently facing a departmental probe for “wilfully omitting facts” in the case.

The report added, “No evidence has been found so far in the investigation that the action on the part of the three accused named in the suicide note until now, individually or together, made it unbearable for the deceased to continue living or had no option but to commit suicide. Hence, in the absence of evidence in this case, ‘A final’ summary should be accepted.”

Varade, who began investigating the case when he was an inspector with the Alibaug police, was attached to the district traffic division when he submitted the closure report.

The report also stated that at the various places where Concorde Designs Private Limited, the firm run by Anvay and his mother, was doing up the interiors for the offices of the three accused, either the work was left incomplete or not completed within the timeline stipulated in the contract. “The accused then carried out the work among themselves and paid the vendors, as per the documents submitted before the police,” it said.

“Investigation has revealed that since the past six to seven years (prior to 2018), Concorde has been facing financial losses, due to which Anvay Naik and his mother were under mental stress. Since his mother was a partner in the company, he throttled her to death, wrote a suicide note and then hung himself,” the report further said.

Details with the Registrar of Companies (accessed by The Indian Express) show Concorde had a Rs 26.5 crore debt as of fiscal 2016. Since then, the company was inactive and did not file its annual statutory returns with the Registrar of Companies.

A committee comprising additional superintendent of police (Raigad-Alibaug), district government pleader (Raigad-Alibaug) and Varade held a meeting on December 20, 2018, where the government pleader and Varade recommended filing ‘A summary’. Chief Judicial Magistrate L G Pachchhe accepted the ‘A Summary’ report on April 16, 2019. Advocate Vaibhav Karnik, representing the Naiks, said, “The police closure report was based on several documents like debit notes submitted by the accused that were not even countersigned and hence, their veracity is doubtful.”

The Naiks have also alleged that the accused are linked to each other. Anvay’s daughter Adnya has said, “When my father would ask Feroz Shaikh to pay up, he would say even Goswami has not done so. How did he know who had made the payments? It means they were linked to each other. There have been attempts made from day one by the police to discredit the case and Varade also tried to make us sign a statement that we want to take the complaint back.”

Last May, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had tweeted that the CID has been asked to re-open the case. Eventually, the case was handed back to the Raigad police to carry out “further investigation” in light of “new evidence”.

The new evidence, said the police, came in the form of a representation given by Naik’s wife Akshata to the Raigad SP on October 12 this year, giving 35 reasons why the case should be reopened. Most of these reasons are linked to police investigators not following proper procedures at the bungalow where the bodies were found.

The family has also raised aspersions on Varade’s role. One of the objections is that he continued to investigate the case in spite of being transferred from Alibaug police to the traffic division.

Also, Akshata complained about the police going to Mumbai to record Goswami’s statement rather than giving him a notice to appear before the Alibaug police. The family has further alleged that Goswami’s statement was recorded in the cabin of a senior Mumbai Police officer and hence, the investigation report does not mention where his statement was taken.

It was following this representation that the Raigad police reopened the case and arrested the three accused.

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