Harish Salve also argued that Arnab was targeted for raising Palghar lynching and said that the case against him could have chilling effects on the freedom of press.
The Supreme Court on 11th May has reserved its order on the matter relating to multiple FIRs filed against Arnab Goswami, while extending its protection against his arrest. The judgment is likely to be delivered in the next few days. Harish Salve represented Arnab Goswami while the Congress was represented by Kapil Sibal.
Salve demonstrated an all round effort by the Congress party to systematically target and persecute the journalist using systematic facts at hand which included, clips, tweets and the pattern followed by Congress to target him. Congress' attempts to play the sliced and diced clips from Arnab Goswami’s debate were countered live in the apex Court. Harish Salve played out the excerpts from debates to expose the Congress's claim that the anchor was trying to create communal disharmony. Kapil Sibal, who represented the Congress, reportedly had no comeback to these clips.
The Supreme Court raised a serious question as to how ‘all the FIRs are cyclo-styled, they are word to word same’. Sibal had no explanation for the mirroring FIRs filed against Goswami and even admitted that if that’s the case, they must be quashed. When Kapil Sibal objected to Arnab Goswami having used “Antonia Maino”, during his debate, Harish Salve called out the Sonia Gandhi obsession and sarcastically said he is talking about that leader.
Mumbai Police bias called out
SG Tushar Mehta called out the Mumbai Police under the Maharashtra government for its bias in the case against Arnab. He said, “This is a case where the way in which state police has acted is undesirable, in a matter of this nature and impact in the possible outcome of the investigation. This is a first case where the police comes and says please insulate us, the accused says I don't have faith.” He made it clear that there must be an independent investigation, “handled by an independent agency that does not need any insulation and the accused is also unable to say that he is being harassed.”
Harish Salve’s said that the 12 hour 15 minute interrogation was an arm twisting tactic. He further drew attention of the Bench to the fact that the interrogation was done during lockdown. Proving the concern was the fact that there were 2 officers who have been interrogating Arnab and his apprehensions on being physically present have turned out to be correct. 2 officers who interrogated Arnab were asymptomatic and one has been tested positive.
Congress conspiracy to use out of context clips to target Arnab
Harish Salve shutdown Congress arguments saying the investigation was flawed. He said there was a problem in the investigation and it took part by part and out of context records from the show to "make a case" against Arnab Goswami. Salve asked the court to consider the entire clip and also sought CBI intervention.
As Salve's arguments put Congress position on the backfoot, he further argued why there is an urgent need to transfer the matter to the CBI. Mr Salve noted ‘Arnab has made serious allegations against Police in relation to the Palghar incident. When it comes to Freedom of Press, a matter of this magnitude could have a chilling effect on the freedom of press" Salve also stated that Arnab’s investigative journalism has time and again assisted the authorities.