The arrest of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami in a two-year-old abatement to suicide case has triggered a political slugfest, with several Central ministers criticizing the Maharashtra government and condemning the move as a reminder of the Emergency.

Arnab Goswami was arrested from his residence in Mumbai today for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 53-year-old interior designer and his mother, in 2018.

The Congress, which shares power in Maharashtra, has attacked the BJP, calling its criticism over the journalist's arrest as "selective outrage" on press freedom.

Condemning the arrest, Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused the Congress and its allies of "shaming democracy once again". "Blatant misuse of state power against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami is an attack on individual freedom and the 4th pillar of democracy. It reminds us of the Emergency. This attack on free press must be and WILL BE OPPOSED," he tweeted.

Amit Shah - Arnab

"We condemn the attack on press freedom in Maharashtra. This is not the way to treat the Press. This reminds us of the emergency days when the press was treated like this," posted Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted, "Shades of the Emergency! The arrest of Arnab Goswami is an attack on the freedom of press. Those who really believe in this freedom must speak up!"


BJP president JP Nadda called the move "a big blow to the principles of democracy and journalism".

Republic TV has claimed that Goswami was manhandled and assaulted by the police at his residence in Mumbai before being pushed into their van. "I was beaten up by the police," Goswami told news agency ANI while on his way to Alibaugh Police Station.

Goswami's lawyer said that the journalist's house was cordoned off for 3 hours before his arrest. "He was assaulted by 2 police officers. There are abrasions on his left hand and an existing injury on his hand was tried to be torn apart by police," the lawyer said.

The move has drawn widespread criticism not only from BJP members and Republic TV supports but also from journalists and the Editors Guild of India.

Reacting to BJP leaders' attack on the Maharashtra government, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said she was very shocked with the "selective outrage" of the saffron party. "Why were they silent when Prashant Kanojia was jailed for a number of months just because he exposed a scam where children were being served salt and chapati in Mirzapur?" she asked.


Shrinate, a former senior journalist, also attacked Arnab Goswami, saying he had brought complete "disgrace and shame" to the profession of journalism. "What he does in the garb of journalism is not journalism, what he does in the garb of journalism is the work of a BJP frontal," she said.

She added, "To accuse people, to hurl abuses, to make any sort of allegations, to use the language that he does. Is he judge or jury? What sort of journalism is he doing in the garb of running a TV channel?"

It is noteworthy that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil had in May announced to reinvestigated the 2018 suicide case after a fresh complaint by Adnya Naik, the designer's daughter.

The journalist's arrest comes amid a row between Republic TV and Mumbai Police over its probe into a rating scam, in which Republic TV along with two other channels is accused of manipulating Television Rating Points (TRP) by bribing households metred for viewership.

Republic TV has accused the Maharashtra government of pursuing a vendetta against the channel for its reporting and criticism of Mumbai Police over handling of the death case of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.