Updated: August 14, 2020 12:16:00 am
The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that statements of witnesses said to have been recorded by Mumbai Police in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput death case have “no validity or legal sanctity”, as the state is yet to file an FIR in the matter.
“The Maharashtra Police in its affidavit has said that it has collected statements of 56 persons. In view of the admitted position that there is no FIR registered, and the police officer is merely discharging functions under Section 174 [of CrPC], such statements have no validity or legal sanctity and are non-est [nonexistent],” the Centre stated in its written submissions.
The court has reserved its verdict on Sushant’s friend Rhea Chakraborty’s plea seeking transfer of a case registered in connection with the death in Patna to Mumbai.
Explaining its stand, the Centre pointed out that the “investigation can start only under Chapter XII of the Code [CrPC] and can commence only by registering of an FIR under section 154/155/15 of the (Criminal Procedure) Code. It is only after registration of FIR that the police gets jurisdiction to record statements of witnesses, and not otherwise.”
It submitted that even after FIR is registered, the police officer is mandated to intimate the magistrate about it and thereafter everything happens under judicial supervision. “This has admittedly not taken place,” the Centre stated. “None of these steps are admittedly taken by Maharashtra Police and, therefore, there is no “case pending” in the State…which can be subjected to section 406 of the Code.”
Bihar Police also took the stand that Maharashtra Police is doing inquest proceedings under Section 174/175 of CrPC and no investigation had started in the legal sense, without which recording statements or witnesses will have no legal backing.
The state also stated it is “apparent” that due to “political pressure” in Maharashtra, neither was an FIR registered by Mumbai Police nor did the local police extend “any cooperation” to Bihar Police.
In her written submissions, Chakraborty maintained that Bihar Police had no jurisdiction in the case. “Section 177 of CrPC categorically states that the case should be investigated into and be dealt with by the court where the offence has been committed. Even on a reading of the FIR, no part of the offence has taken place in Bihar…. CrPC has been misconstrued to usurp jurisdiction in Bihar under political pressure,” she contended.
Opposing Bihar Police’s move to transfer the case to CBI, she said the “transfer has been undertaken solely with the motive of rendering” her petition “infructuous”. She added that she has no problem if the SC transfers the case to CBI.
Rajput’s father K K Singh contended that Bihar Police “clearly had jurisdiction” to register the FIR because the part of the cause of action happened at Patna, as during the lifetime of the actor, “the father’s attempt to talk to him on telephone from Patna was thwarted by the accused persons by not letting him talk to him, which could have saved his son’s life”.
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