The Bombay High Court on Thursday reserved its verdict in the petition filed by actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s sisters to quash an FIR filed against them by the Mumbai police for allegedly forging and procuring a fake medical prescription for their brother, PTI reported. The court also praised Rajput’s acting and “innocent, sober” face during the hearing.

Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14. The case was initially investigated by the Mumbai police but is now under the Central Bureau of Investigation and other central agencies.

The FIR was filed based on actor Rhea Chakraborty’s complaint against Rajput’s sisters Priyanka Singh and Mitu Singh. Chakraborty has alleged that Rajput’s sisters used a fabricated medical prescription to help him procure medicines banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, only a few days before his death. She also named a doctor of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi, Tarun Kumar, who allegedly signed the prescription.

During the hearing on Thursday, the bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik praised Rajput’s work in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story and said that the actor’s face showed he was a good human being. “Whatever the case...from Sushant Singh Rajput’s face one could make out that he was innocent and sober...and a good human being,” Justice Shinde said. “Everybody liked him, especially in that MS Dhoni film.”

The court also heard all the sides before it reserved its verdict. Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, who appeared for the sisters, said there was an inordinate delay in filing the FIR, according to Bar and Bench. He added that the medicines could have been prescribed to Rajput as per the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines during the pandemic, when people could not go out of their homes. But, he added that even if the medicines were prescribed, there was no proof that Rajput consumed the medicines.

Vikas Singh added that the Mumbai Police had no right to register the case. “The FIR is a counter case,” he told the court. “The way she [Chakraborty] has listed the events points out chain of events pointing out some other accused and then there are other events claimed which point out other accused. But then this is part of same investigation which is being conducted by CBI.” In October, the CBI had told the Bombay High Court that the FIR was “vitiated and bad in law”.

Senior counsel Devdutt Kamat, who was appearing for the Mumbai police, said there was no online consultation with the doctor and claimed that the police have WhatsApp chats to prove this. “The police has evidence to show that an unidentified man went to the OPD of the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital on June 8, 2020, and took a token and later a prescription from the accused doctor Tarun Kumar,” Kamat said, according to PTI.

Chakraborty’s counsel Satish Maneshinde sought to dismiss the sisters’ plea and said that “dangerous cocktail of drugs and narcotic substances and medicines” could have led to Rajput’s death.

“Sushant Singh Rajput was under Rhea’s care for 14 months before June 8, 2020, when he asked her to leave the house,” Maneshinde said. “During that period, Rhea ensured that Sushant Singh Rajput took his medicines and never mixed them with drugs. Sushant Singh Rajput’s cook and servant on June 8, 2020, saw the actor roll four joints [drugs] and keep it in a box. On June 14, when the actor was found dead in his room, the box was empty. This has been informed by the servant to the authorities.”

Her statement added:

“I pointed out to his household help that he was mixing narcotic substances with the medicines that he was taking. It was going to be a dangerous cocktail. I was aware that he was taking medications and I had an altercation with him on that, but I was not aware of the prescription. 

When the prescription was leaked in social media, I realised it was on advice if his sisters. So I realised that it could be a cause of his suicide. 

I have said in my complaint, that these medicines were prescribed by a doctor who had never prescribed him before. They were prescribed without seeing him physically. Telemedicine can be prescribed only with prior consultation with the doctor.

— Satish Maneshinde on behalf of Rhea Chakraborty (Source: Hindustan Times)

The court directed all parties to submit written arguments and reserved its verdict.

On October 6, Rajput’s sisters had moved the Bombay High Court to quash the FIR filed against them by the Mumbai Police.

Chakraborty’s affidavit in the HC has claimed that Rajput had a “tumultuous relationship” with his family and was also suffering from mental health problems, for which he was undergoing medical treatment. “In January 2020, Rajput went to Chandigarh to meet his family. After he returned, he said he was discontinuing his medications and treatment,” the affidavit said. “In March 2020, when the country was hit by [the] Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown was announced, Rajput appeared stable initially, but with each passing day, his mental health started deteriorating.”

The case

Rajput was found dead in his Mumbai apartment on June 14, in what the police initially said appeared to be a case of suicide. But subsequently Rajput’s family filed a complaint with the Bihar Police accusing his former live-in partner Rhea Chakraborty of abetment of suicide and cheating. Three central agencies – the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate, the Narcotics Control Bureau – took up cases against her.

Chakraborty, who was eventually arrested for consuming drugs, was granted bail on October 7. Her brother was also arrested in the case and granted bail after three months.

Investigation into Rajput’s death also put Bollywood in muddied waters after the Narcotics Control Bureau claimed to have unearthed a close nexus between illegal drug consumption and the film industry. Several actors, including Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, and Rakul Preet Singh have been questioned in the case.

On October 12, top Bollywood filmmakers and producers filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against “irresponsible reporting by certain media houses” around Rajput’s death. The lawsuit was filed against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami and Pradeep Bhandari of the channel, and Times Now and its prominent anchors Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar.