Updated: August 7, 2020 1:55:37 pm
The Bombay High Court Friday refused to express an opinion or pass any order on two PILs seeking transfer of Sushant Singh Rajput death case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and said it was awaiting the Supreme Court order on the transfer petition filed by actor Rhea Chakraborty, which is to be heard on August 18.
On Wednesday, the apex court had directed the Maharashtra government to submit a status report in the probe, after hearing a plea filed by Rhea seeking that the FIR registered against her by the Bihar Police be transferred to Mumbai Police.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice A S Gadkari was hearing on Friday two pleas — a criminal PIL filed by 32-year-old Nagpur resident Sameet Rakesh Thakkar through advocate Raspal Singh Renu and another one filed by lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal.
The pleas sought from the Court to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT), or transfer the case to CBI, or to any other investigating agency outside Mumbai ‘in the interest of justice’.
Earlier on July 30, the top court had dismissed a similar PIL seeking transfer of the probe from Mumbai Police to the CBI, asking the lawyers to approach the Bombay HC if they had “something concrete” to show in the case.
Thakkar’s PIL has claimed that the Mumbai Police’s investigation into the actor’s death is ‘shoddy’, and they have not been able to ascertain the reason behind his death yet.
The plea stated, “The petitioner, therefore, seeks high profile investigation in respect of illegality on the part of the real culprits in connivance with the respondent Mumbai Police and also seeking action against the responsible officials for committing illegality in accordance with law.”
It added, “If at all, the actor has committed suicide, which needs to be investigated, the reason for the same are the bigwigs of Bollywood, who systematically side-lined him and decided to ruin him and ultimately left him with no option but to take the extreme step.”
While Tibrewal, in her plea said, “The sudden death of a very successful person has created ripples in the minds of the public at large about intricacies of nepotism prevalent in the film industry.”
Tibrewal claimed in her plea that Mumbai Police ‘created a narrative of suicide’ in Rajput’s case without an adequate probe.
On Friday, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for Maharashtra government submitted that the state was in a process to file a status report of the probe before the Supreme Court in a sealed cover. He said that hearing on the plea before the top court was tentatively scheduled for August 18 and urged HC not to hear the PILs at the moment and that it should not pass orders in view of the case pending before SC.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh for the Centre informed the Court that based on the recommendation of the Bihar government referring to FIR filed by Bihar Police on a complaint by Sushant’s family, the Union government had issued a notification, after which the CBI filed an FIR in the case.
He further submitted that it was in everyone’s interest that CBI takes over the case. “To unearth the truth, Mumbai Police should not stand in a way of entrustment of the case to CBI.”
Singh also objected to the Bihar cadre IPS officer being quarantined in Mumbai, stating that four other Police officials were not met with such a treatment. “Manner in which the Maharashtra government is handling the case is questionable,” ASG said.
After hearing submissions, the bench refused to pass opinion or order in two PILs awaiting the top court’s decision. HC said that it cannot rush into hearing PILs in view of pending plea before SC. “We have to be cautious. There are judgments that say the discretion to transfer investigations to CBI has to be used sparingly.”
However, Chief Justice Dipankar Datta said the Court did not find it appropriate to express an opinion at this stage and posted the matter for further hearing on August 21.
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