Arnab Goswami, one of India’s top news anchors, has been arrested in connection with an abetment to suicide case.
Police said the Republic TV founder was being investigated for his alleged role in the death of an architect who designed his studio.
Anvay Naik took his life in 2018 and his wife accused Mr Goswami of not paying his fee.
Mr Goswami and Republic TV network deny the allegation.
Mr Naik and his mother were found dead in May 2018 at their home in Alibaug region of the western state of Maharashtra. Mr Naik’s wife said he left a suicide note in which he blamed Mr Goswami for his death.
She has been campaigning on social media for the case to be investigated thoroughly. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh recently ordered a special team to investigate the case.
A police team arrested Mr Goswami from his home in Mumbai on Wednesday. Images showed scuffles taking place between Mr Goswami and the police team.
Republic TV has accused the police of “manhandling” Mr Goswami’s family members – police are yet to comment on the allegations.
Mr Goswami is known for his aggressive style of anchoring and questioning. But his critics say that he often comes across as sympathetic to right-wing politics in the country.
In recent months, he has been particularly critical of Mumbai police over their handling of
the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. He often accused Mumbai police of being lenient in their investigation into the star’s death.
Mr Goswami has also been critical of the Maharashtra government, which is run by a coalition headed by the Shiv Sena party – a former ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in the state.
Republic TV says that Mr Goswami has been targeted over his journalism.
Many on social media, even those who do not like his brand of journalism, have questioned the manner in which the police arrested him.
I condemn the arrest of Arnab Goswami, and the manner in which it was done. I am not going to punctuate it with an “although”. That would be whataboutery. This should be unequivocal.
— Neelesh Misra (@neeleshmisra) November 4, 2020
This tweet is just to support #ArnabGoswami . One may disagree with him on any range of topic or ideological grounds, but this level of harassment can NOT be justified.
Yes, this IS about FoE and this IS about free media. Not expecting many to agree. But this is my stand.
— Yashwant Deshmukh 🇮🇳 (@YRDeshmukh) November 4, 2020
Are we returning to an age of facism and dictatorship in the garb of democracy?
Vendetta politics exceeding all limits.Absolutely no ground to arrest #ArnabGoswami.Minimum that the Maharashtra Govt can do to vindicate the freedom of press is to release him immediately.@Republic
— Dr Jitendra Singh (@DrJitendraSingh) November 4, 2020
Meanwhile, the Editors Guild of India has also criticised Mr Goswami’s arrest.
“We condemn the sudden arrest and find it extremely distressing. The guild calls upon chief minister of Maharashtra to ensure that Goswami is treated fairly and state power is not used against critical reporting by the media,” the guild said in a statement.
Senior federal ministers of the BJP-run government have also criticised his arrest, saying it was “an attack on the media’s freedom of expression”.
But the main opposition Congress party, which is a coalition partner of the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, has accused the BJP of “selective outrage”.
The party said BJP ministers do not speak out when journalists are harassed and arrested by states where it’s in power.
Many activists and journalists, while criticising Mr Goswami’s arrest, have also questioned the BJP.
There multiple journalists languishing in Indian prisons for engaging in journalism. The case against Arnab is by a private citizen in a private matter. In fact, Arnab has used his platforms for vilifying and campaigning against journalists on ground.
— Cyril Sam (@cyrilsam) November 4, 2020