New Delhi, India (CNN)One of India's most well-known and controversial news anchors has been arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of an architect, local police said, in a case that reflects the country's increasingly fraught and politicized media environment.
Controversial Indian news anchor arrested for allegedly abetting architect's suicide
Arnab Goswami, the face and founder of right-wing broadcaster Republic TV, was arrested at his home in Mumbai in the western Indian state of Maharashtra Wednesday for his alleged role in the death of Anvay Naik, who died by suicide in 2018, according to a statement Wednesday from the broadcaster.
Ashok Dudhe, superintendent of police of Raigad district in the western state of Maharashtra, confirmed that Goswami was arrested for allegedly abetting a suicide, a crime that under the Indian penal code carries a possible 10 year prison sentence in India. Goswami and two others were remanded to judicial custody late Wednesday night, according to a court order.
In a video posted online in May and shared widely by Indian social media users, Naik's wife Akshata Naik alleged that Goswami aided Naik's suicide by failing to pay Naik for designing his television studio. Naik's suicide note -- which CNN has independently verified with Naik's daughter -- claimed that Goswami and two other people owed him $726,000.
But Goswami and Republic TV deny those allegations, saying in a statement Wednesday that 90% of the money was paid to Naik's company over two years ago. The official court document on the case does not specify whether the money was paid before or after his death.
According to Goswami's statement, police previously investigated him for his alleged role in the suicide, but the case was closed in April last year after police found "no proof of any illegality."
Instead, Republic TV said that the pro-government anchor's arrest was made "as part of a larger vindictive exercise against an independent journalist and an independent news organization" and claim it was an "attack on the fourth estate."
That sentiment has been reinforced by members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but state politicians deny