Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the Centre has accepted the Bihar government’s recommendation of an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Bar and Bench reported. Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14, in what the local police said was a case of suicide.
The top court was hearing a petition filed by actor Rhea Chakraborty, seeking the transfer of the first information report filed against her from Patna to Mumbai. Mehta submitted that the notification for the CBI investigation will be issued soon, preferably by the end of the day.
A bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy said the “truth should come out so far as actor’s death is concerned”, according to PTI. The court also observed that the quarantining the police officer who arrived in Mumbai to lead the Bihar Police’s investigation “does not send a good message”.
“Quarantining of the Bihar Police officer has not sent good message despite the fact that Mumbai Police has good professional reputation,” it observed. “The confinement... does it send a good message? Especially when the case has garnered so much media attention? State of Maharashtra has to ensure that everything is done in professional way.”
The Maharashtra government, however, argued that the Patna High Court has no jurisdiction to lodge an FIR to investigate the case. “There is no cause of action for Patna to register the FIR,” it said. “Nothing has happened in Patna. This is a political case. There is no jurisdiction of Bihar Police here. Principles of federalism are being tampered with.”
Meanwhile, Rajput’s father KK Singh alleged that the Maharashtra Police has been destroying evidence in the case. “The investigating officer was quarantined,” advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for KK Singh, said. “This is unbelievable.”
The court asked the state governments in Bihar and Maharashtra, the Centre and Sushant Singh Rajput’s father to file their responses to Chakraborty’s petition in three days. It also directed the Mumbai Police to file a status report on the inquiry conducted so far.
On Tuesday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said that the state’s director general of police spoke to Rajput’s father, who gave his approval for a CBI inquiry.
On Monday, Rajput’s father had accused the Mumbai Police of inaction in the case. “On February 25, I informed Bandra Police that he [Sushant Singh Rajput] is in danger,” Singh had said. “He died on June 14 and I asked them to act against people named in my complaint. No action was taken even 40 days after his death. So I filed an FIR [first information report] in Patna.” However, the police refuted the allegations.
The Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in Maharashtra had rejected the recommendation of a CBI inquiry, saying the move encroached upon the rights of another state. They claimed it would only help the Bharatiya Janata Party in the “destruction of the Constitution”.
The Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar has been criticised by Opposition leaders and allies alike for not helping the actor’s family in the case.
The Bihar Police had launched an investigation into Rajput’s death after his father filed a first information report against Chakraborty and her relatives in Patna on July 25. Singh accused Chakraborty of cheating his son and driving him to suicide.
Chakraborty’s lawyer, meanwhile, said that the transfer of the case to CBI had no legal sanctity. “There can’t be transfer of a case which had no legal basis for Bihar to get involved,” Satish Maneshinde has said. “At most, it would be a ‘Zero FIR’ transferable to Mumbai Police.”