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Friday, July 30, 2021

Sushant probe: Mumbai vs Bihar Police as Patna SP is quarantined

Vinay Tiwari, Superintendent of Police, Patna City (Central), was sent to Mumbai to monitor the investigation by a Bihar Police team, which is probing an “abetment to suicide” case on the basis of a complaint filed by the actor's father in Patna last week.

Written by Srinath Rao , Mohamed Thaver , Santosh Singh | Mumbai, Patna |
Updated: August 4, 2020 11:08:50 am
sushant singh rajput, sushant singh rajput death case, sushant singh rajput suicide case, Mumbai police, bihar police, indian express Rajput was found hanging in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14. The Mumbai Police is probing a case of accidental death. (File)

THE INVESTIGATION into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death turned into a Mumbai Police versus Bihar Police row on Monday, with Bihar IPS officer Vinay Tiwari alleging that he was “selectively quarantined” till August 15 after his arrival in Mumbai on Sunday.Tiwari, Superintendent of Police, Patna City (Central), was sent to Mumbai to monitor the investigation by a Bihar Police team, which is probing an “abetment to suicide” case on the basis of a complaint filed by the actor’s father in Patna last week.

Rajput was found hanging in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14. The Mumbai Police is probing a case of accidental death.

“I did point out that I am a police officer on duty and there are exceptions to the quarantine rules,” said Tiwari. “Four other members of my team have been in Mumbai since July 27. They have been out in the field every day… No one from the BMC approached them… I have been selectively home-quarantined,” he said.

“Whatever happened is not proper, the officer has gone there to do his duty,” said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He said the state DGP “is dealing with the matter”. Asked if he would take it up with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nitish replied: “It is not a political matter”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey said: “Inspector General of Police (central range) is sending a protest letter to the BMC chief for quarantining Vinay Tiwari, a police officer on duty. As per rules, he could have been exempted from quarantine restrictions.”

In a statement, the BMC said Tiwari was quarantined as per the rules for domestic air travellers. “He has also been guided to apply to the competent authority of MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) for exemption in the home quarantine period,” it said. A BMC official said Tiwari had not sought exemption so far.

Read | No question of not cooperating with Bihar Police, says Mumbai top cop

However, the civic body did not say why the police team which arrived from Patna on July 27 was not quarantined.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said while he could not comment on the officer being quarantined as it was a BMC issue, as per the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Mumbai Police has the jurisdiction to investigate the case.

“The law is very clear on this. Whenever a cognizable offence is registered, the local police is duty bound to register it. However, if the scene of crime is not under that police, a zero FIR is registered and the case is transferred to the police station under which the incident took place. The Bihar Police team approached us saying they wanted some documents pertaining to the case. We do not know how you can investigate a case outside your jurisdiction… we are taking legal opinion… when we get any complaint from another state we register it and transfer it to that state. We do not investigate it…,” Singh said.

“Since the scene of crime is outside their jurisdiction, we have asked Bihar Police to give us a clarification as to under what section and provision they want to investigate the case,” Singh said.

In a video statement on Monday, Rajput’s father, K K Singh, said he had approached the Patna Police as the Mumbai Police did not act on his earlier complaint, filed on February 25, about a “threat” to the actor’s life.

K K Singh said that after his son’s death, he had asked the Mumbai Police to act against the persons he named as suspects in February. He said he decided to file an FIR in Patna as the Mumbai Police did not act “even after 40 days had passed”.

In his complaint, on the basis of which an FIR was lodged in Patna on July 25, K K Singh had accused actor Rhea Chakraborty and her family members of abetting his son’s suicide and defrauding him of his money.

Also Read | Bihar police looking for actor’s flatmate; to probe death of former manager

Reacting to K K Singh’s statement, the Mumbai Police said no written complaint had been filed in February. “However, one Shri O P Singh, the brother-in-law of late Sushant Singh Rajput, had sent some WhatsApp messages to the then DCP Zone 9 (Paramjit Singh Dahiya) regarding this matter. The then DCP Zone 9 had called O P Singh and requested him that a written complaint is mandatory for any enquiry or action. However, Mr Singh wanted this to be resolved informally, to which the then DCP Zone 9 clearly told him that it was not possible,” said Mumbai Police spokesperson, DCP (Operations), Shahaji Umap.

O P Singh, a Haryana cadre IPS officer, did not respond to phone calls or messages from The Indian Express.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said Rajput’s family had “not raised doubts on anyone’s involvement” earlier. “On June 16, the statements of Sushant’s father, three sisters and brother-in-law were recorded… they did not raise doubts on anyone’s involvement. In fact, in one or two statements, it also came to the fore that professional pressure and his mental health condition could have led him to commit suicide. But they clearly said that they do not suspect anyone,” he said.

He said police had recorded 56 statements so far, including that of Rhea Chakraborty. He also denied that there was a party at the actor’s residence before his death. “We checked the CCTV footage of June 13 and 14 , and we know who all were present in the flat. No one else is seen coming to the house or any party taking place there,” he said.

He said they were still probing all angles including financial distress, professional rivalry and health related issues.

On Monday, the ED questioned Rajput’s chartered accountant, Sandeep Sridhar, and is likely to summon Chakraborty this week.

Chakraborty’s lawyer, Satish Maneshinde, denied that she was “missing”. “The contention of Bihar Police that Rhea Chakraborty is missing is not correct. Her statement has been recorded by Mumbai Police. She has cooperated with the police, as and when called. Till today, no notice or summons have been received by her from Bihar Police and they have no jurisdiction to investigate the case,” he said.

Meanwhile, political parties in Bihar, which have been demanding a CBI probe into the actor’s death, raised the matter in the House on Monday. BJP MLA Neeraj Kumar Singh, who is Rajput’s relative, first raised the demand for a CBI probe, and received the support of almost all parties.

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