THE RAIGAD police, in the 1,914-page chargesheet filed in the Anvay Naik suicide case on Friday, have dropped the charge that indicated that the three accused, including Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, together conspired to drive Naik to suicide in April 2018.
Naik, an interior decorator, had named Goswami, Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia and Niteish Sarda of Smartworks as responsible for the suicide. He had worked for them and wrote in the suicide note that they had not paid him Rs 5.40 crore for the work.
While the FIR registered by the Raigad police soon after the incident had added IPC Section 34 (common intent) — which meant the three had worked together to drive Naik to commit suicide — the chargesheet has dropped that section. The chargesheet has retained Section 306 (abetment to commit suicide) and added Section 109 (punishment of abetment). Dropping Section 34 assumes significance since it was one of the main factors mentioned by the earlier investigating officer while closing the case in 2019.
While the current chargesheet drops references to the three being linked, in order to establish Naik was left with no option but to commit suicide, it has statements of over 50 witnesses of which nine statements have been recorded before a magistrate.
“We have statements of several employees of Naik, bank statements and emails to prove that non payment of money by the three accused drove him to kill himself,” said inspector Jamil Shaikh, who is probing the case.
An official said, “We have found strong evidence in the form of some communication we have established between Naik and the accused, where he told them that if they did not pay him for the work he had done, it will be difficult for him to continue living.”
While in the closure report filed in 2019, the officer had concluded that Naik had not completed or not satisfactorily completed work done for the accused, the current chargesheet has also stated that they have statements of those working for his clients which establish that Naik had completed the work he had taken on from them.
Earlier this week Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said the police would soon be filing a “strong chargesheet” in the case. Goswami Thursday moved an urgent interim application before the Bomb, ay HC seeking a stay on filing of a chargesheet and further proceedings. It is likely to be heard next week.
The court on Saturday will hear the revision application filed by the Raigad police against the magistrate court’s order last month denying police custody of the three accused.
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