Updated: January 21, 2021 1:20:56 pm
Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput passed away on June 14, 2020 in Mumbai. The death of the celebrated actor sent shockwaves throughout the country and the case was deeply investigated, first by the Mumbai Police and later by the CBI. While the matter is still under the CBI, here’s everything that has happened so far.
Death of Sushant Singh Rajput
Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on Sunday, June 14. Early investigations by the Mumbai Police concluded that he had died by suicide. A preliminary post-mortem at Cooper Hospital confirmed the cause of death as asphyxia due to hanging.
Investigation by Mumbai Police
In the initial round of investigation, many of Sushant Singh Rajput’s friends and colleagues were questioned by the police. These included Aditya Chopra, Mukesh Chhabra, Rhea Chakraborty, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajeev Masand, Mahesh Bhatt among many otherse.
When asked about Sushant’s apparent depression, a senior Mumbai Police official had said, “The family informed us that they do not know why Sushant was depressed and also did not mention if they had any suspicion on anyone.”
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Mumbai Police also checked Sushant’s contract with YRF to investigate his professional commitments after Rhea Chakraborty insinuated that the actor was upset due to some work related issues. “We will have to verify the claims (made by the actor) made in the statement,” said the Mumbai Police official.
Later, YRF casting director Shanoo Sharma told the police that the actor and production house had parted on good terms. “She (Sharma) denied that there was any ill-will in the actor’s mind towards the production house with regard to the opportunities he was given and over the way his contract ended,” said a senior police official.
Request for CBI probe
In July 2020, many of Sushant’s fans, friends and well-wishers started online petitions for CBI to get involved with the case. At the time, Rhea Chakraborty had shared on Instagram, “Respected @AmitShah sir, I’m Sushant Singh Rajput’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty. It is now over a month since his sudden demise. I have complete faith in the government, however in the interest of justice, I request you with folded hands to initiate a CBI enquiry into this matter. I only want to understand what pressures, prompted Sushant to take this step. Yours sincerely, Rhea Chakraborty. #satyamevajayate @AmitShah sir”
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Meanwhile, Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister Shweta Singh Kirti had also started participating in online chatter to push for an investigation by the CBI.
FIR against Rhea Chakraborty
Rajput’s father KK Singh filed an FIR against Rhea Chakraborty and her family members in Patna in July 2020 for abetment of suicide. He said in the FIR, “My son was at the peak of his acting career till May 2019. During that period, Rhea and her relatives developed an acquaintance with my son, under a deliberate conspiracy, so that Rhea could establish herself in the film industry and with an eye on Sushant’s wealth… He was later made to rent a house that was haunted, and that had an impact on my son.”
The FIR was filed under IPC Sections 306 (abetment of suicide), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating).
Soon after, Rhea moved the Supreme Court for a stay on the investigation by Patna police and sought transfer of the probe to Mumbai. Later, KK Singh filed a caveat in the Supreme Court seeking permission to be heard before it passes any order.
Enforcement Directorate then registered a case of money laundering against Rhea and her family members. She posted a video message online and said, “Even though a lot of horrible things are being said about me on the electronic media, I refrain from commenting on the advice of my lawyer as the matter is sub judice. Satyameva Jayate. The Truth shall prevail.”
It was alleged by KK Singh that Rhea had taken Rs 15 crore from Sushant’s accounts and was also responsible for giving him the wrong medication.
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Rhea Chakraborty appeared before ED over allegations of financial irregularities. Rhea, her brother Showik and father Indrajit Chakraborty were questioned repeatedly by the agency but they did not find any big transfers made from Sushant’s accounts to the Chakraborty family.
The Supreme Court directed the CBI to investigate Sushant’s death case and asked the state to assist with the probe. Justice Hrishikesh Roy said, “When truth meets sunshine, justice will not prevail on the living alone but after Life’s fitful fever, now the departed will also sleep well. Satyameva Jayate.”
Sushant’s family members, fans and friends expressed their relief on social media as they had been pushing for a CBI enquiry into the case. Sushant’s sister Shweta shared on Twitter, “The whole world has relentlessly fought for CBI Enquiry and now it is the responsibility of CBI to uphold our trust in them, we have full faith that CBI will most definitely bring the truth out and justice will be served.”
CBI questioned Rhea and her family members. The NCB was also alerted after chats linking Rhea and her brother to a drug supplier were discovered. This also launched NCB’s investigation into Bollywood’s alleged ‘drug network’.
Rhea Chakraborty’s arrest
In September 2020, Rhea was arrested on charges of procuring drugs for Sushant. In its remand application to a magistrate court, the NCB said, “It is also clear… that Rhea used to procure drugs for Rajput for consumption purposes. Rhea used to manage finances for drug procurement along with Rajput. As per disclosures made by Rhea, she was arrested.” Soon after, her brother Showik was also arrested.
In October, the AIIMS medical board submitted its findings to the CBI. “It is a case of hanging and death by suicide. We have submitted our conclusive report to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),” said forensic chief Dr Sudhir Gupta.
After a month, Rhea’s bail was granted. Ruling on Chakraborty’s plea, Justice Sarang V Kotwal stated, “She is not part of the chain of drug dealers. She has not forwarded the drugs allegedly procured by her to somebody else to earn monetary or other benefits…(there is) nothing at this stage to show Rhea had committed any offence involving commercial quantity of contraband.” Showik was given bail in November, three months after his arrest.
Where does the investigation stand now?
In December, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh questioned the status of the case in a press conference and said, “It has been more than five months since the investigation began but the CBI has not revealed if Sushant Singh Rajput was murdered or died by suicide. I request CBI to reveal the findings of the investigation at the earliest.”
In January 2021, Bombay High Court stated that two TV channels “took upon themselves the role of the investigator, the prosecutor as well as the Judge and delivered the verdict as if, during the pandemic, except they, all organs of the State were in slumber”.
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