January 7, 2021 8:15:48 pm
The Bombay High Court Thursday concluded the hearing in a petition by the two sisters of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput seeking to quash an FIR by Mumbai Police against them and a doctor from Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, Delhi.
On September 7, actor Rhea Chakraborty, who is facing a probe in connection with the Sushant death case, had filed a police complaint against the late actor’s sister Priyanka and the RML Hospital doctor for allegedly getting psychiatric drugs for Sushant without consultation and by using a forged prescription. Rhea, in her complaint, had asked the Bandra police to investigate if these medications, which fall under the ambit of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, resulted in the deterioration of Sushant’s mental health or his death on June 14.
A Division Bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik conducted an hour-long hearing on Priyanka and Meetu Singh’s plea and reserved its orders.
In their plea, Rajput’s sisters said that Rhea, as per the contents of the FIR, had made “contradictory statements” about the actor’s death. They said Rhea first claimed in her tweet on July 16 that she did not know what drove Sushant to die by suicide and, subsequently, told the Supreme Court that she did not suspect anyone, but later changed her statements and accused them of negligence.
On Thursday, Senior Counsel Vikas Singh representing the sisters argued that telemedicine practice guidelines permitted a doctor to prescribe medicines via online consultation and, due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation, Rajput could not go for physical consultation.
The sisters argued that the FIR was a counter-case and assuming that even such a prescription was procured, there seemed to be no evidence against them as per the reply filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The CBI in its affidavit had said that Rhea’s accusation that the sisters obtained fake medical prescriptions for Sushant “was presumptive and speculative” and said that such speculation cannot be the basis of an FIR. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh representing CBI said, “By virtue of the SC order, all cases related to unnatural death of Rajput and surrounding cases have to be investigated by CBI.”
However, the Mumbai Police opposed the plea and submitted that they were duty-bound to register an FIR against Rajput’s sisters as the complaint filed against them by Rhea prima facie “disclosed commission of offence”.
Senior Counsel Devadatt Kamat for the Mumbai Police submitted that as per the Supreme Court’s order, the case was sent to CBI. “As far as malafide as to how Maharashtra Police can investigate the case is concerned, same is misconceived. We have followed the letter and spirit of the SC order that transferred the actor’s death probe to CBI,” Kamat argued.
Kamat claimed that no online consultation was done in the case as the WhatsApp conversation between Rajput and his sisters from June 8, 2020 showed that Priyanka had procured the prescription without any consultation between the doctor and the patient.
“We have evidence to show that an unidentified person 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,” the police argued.
The Mumbai Police submitted that the prescriptions did not comply with the telemedicine guidelines wherein consultation of the patient was necessary and as they contained scheduled drugs, they could be given only under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act and Rules.
Advocate Satish Maneshinde, representing Rhea, sought the dismissal of the plea and submitted that the CBI should investigate the case and if it comes to conclusion that there is no case, the agency can file a closure report. “The complainant then has the option to file a protest petition. Quashing the FIR at this stage would be premature.”
Meanwhile, Justice Shinde praised the late actor as he concluded the hearing. “Whatever the case, one undisputed position is that from his face, one can make out that he was innocent and sober and a very good human being. Everybody liked him, especially in that M S Dhoni film,” he said.
The court will pronounce the ruling in due course.
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