One of India’s top TV news anchors, Arnab Goswami, was arrested by police in Mumbai on Wednesday morning for alleged abetment to suicide in a case registered in 2018, his channel said in a statement.
According to local media, the case related to the suicide of Anvay Naik, an interior designer, who said he was owed money by Goswami’s Republic TV.
Republic showed footage of more than a dozen police officers entering Goswami’s house and taking him away in a van.
Republic, in the statement, said Goswami and his son were physically assaulted by the police and access to his legal team was denied.
A spokesperson for Mumbai Police said the arrests were carried out by officers from the neighbouring Raigad district. Officials from Raigad police did not respond to requests for comment.
The Editors’ Guild of India condemned Goswami’s “sudden arrest” in a statement and called on Maharashtra’s Chief Minister to ensure he was “treated fairly and state power is not used against critical reporting by the media.”
Several ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the arrest on social media, saying it was an attack on the freedom of the press.
Goswami, known for chairing chaotic prime-time debates and widely seen as supportive of the BJP, has been in a tussle with the police in opposition-ruled Maharashtra this year.
Police in April registered a case against Goswami for inciting religious discord after he criticised opposition leader Sonia Gandhi during a show. Goswami and his reporters are also being questioned in a case of alleged rigging of television ratings.