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Truth behind Sushant Singh’s death should come out, says SC; Centre gives nod to CBI probe

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New Delhi: The truth behind the “unfortunate” death of a “gifted and talented artist” Sushant Singh Rajput should come out, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday, while the Centre apprised it of having accepted the Bihar government’s recommendation for a CBI probe in the matter.

The top court also directed Rajput’s father Krishna Kishore Singh as also Bihar and Maharashtra to respond within three days to the plea of Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty seeking transfer of an FIR, accusing her of abetting the actor’s suicide, from Patna to Mumbai.

Mumbai Police, which has recorded the statements of 56 persons so far in the case, will have to apprise the top court about the progress made by it in the investigation.

Rajput, 34, was found hanging from the ceiling of his apartment in suburban Bandra in Mumbai on June 14 and since then Mumbai Police has been probing the case keeping in mind various angles.

The police has recorded the statements of 56 persons including Bollywood directors like Aditya Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

“A very unfortunate incident has taken place. A gifted and talented artist has passed away in circumstances which are unusual. Now, the circumstances in which this death took place needs to be inquired into,” a bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy said during the hearing held through video conferencing.

“Having considered…submissions, three day time is granted to all parties to place on record their respective stand in the matter. The state of Maharashtra should apprise the court on the stage of investigation by the Mumbai Police by the next date. The matter be listed in the next week,” the court said in its order.

The court took note of the Mumbai authorities putting an IPS officer from Bihar in quarantine and said, “The incident of quarantining a police officer (of Bihar) has not sent a good message.”

Mumbai Police has “good professional reputation”, the bench observed, adding, “kindly ensure that everything is done in accordance with law.”

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that “in principle, the authorities have decided to accept the request of the Bihar Police” for a CBI probe in the case.

The statement from the Centre came when senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and lawyer Keshav Mohan, appearing for the Bihar government, said that Bihar Police has already decided to “entrust the investigation of the case registered in Rajeev Nagar Police Station, Patna to the CBI”.

“There must not be any obstruction by the Mumbai Police in the investigation and the FIR has been lawfully lodged by Patna police,” Rohatgi said. .

Maharashtra locked up the IPS officer and it appeared as if it was acting on the behalf of the actress, he said, adding that there was no ground for any interim protection for Chakraborty.

During the hearing, senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Rajput’s father, said he has no difficulty if the apex court examines the case but no protective order should be passed in favour of Chakraborty.

Singh alleged that Maharashtra Police is “destroying the evidence” in the case and for the time being, they should be directed to cooperate with Bihar Police in the ongoing probe.

Senior advocate R Basant, appearing for Maharashtra, told the bench that Patna Police has no jurisdiction to either lodge an FIR or investigate the matter and this has been made a “political case”.

The Maharashtra government told the bench, “We are doing quite a professional job” and it is inappropriate that Mumbai Police is being accused like this.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Chakraborty, told the bench that no coercive action be taken against her till the pendency of the matter.

“We want all parties to hold their hands. Lawyers are here and I am sure they have all heard you,” the bench observed.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had on Tuesday recommended the CBI probe to the Centre in the sensational case at the request of Rajput’s father.

Maharashtra has been opposed to transferring the probe to CBI.

Rhea, who had once allegedly tweeted to the Union Home Minister seeking CBI probe into the matter, had on Tuesday opposed the Bihar government’s move through her lawyer Satish Maneshinde by saying that the decision has “no legal sanctity”.

On July 25, Rajput’s father had lodged an FIR at Rajiv Nagar police station in Patna against Chakraborty and six others, including her family members, accusing them of abetting the actor’s suicide.

In her plea filed in the apex court, Chakraborty has alleged that Rajput’s father has used his “influence” in roping her in FIR lodged at Patna in Bihar accusing her of abetment of suicide of his son.

The actress has said in her plea that she was in a live-in relationship with Rajput and has been in deep trauma due the death of the actor and moreover getting rape and death threats.

The entire cause of action as alleged in the FIR had arisen at Bandra in Mumbai, her plea has said.

An FIR has been registered against her and others at Patna for alleged offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 306 (abetment of suicide), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property).

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