Updated: August 19, 2020 2:02:41 pm
The Supreme Court Wednesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case and asked Maharashtra to assist with the probe. The Mumbai Police will now hand over all the evidence collected in the case so far to the investigating agency.
Delivering the verdict, a single-judge bench led by 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.”
The top court also upheld the FIR registered in Patna by Sushant’s father K K Singh. “FIR registered at Patna was correct and reference to CBI is lawful. The Bihar government is competent enough to transfer case to CBI for investigation,” Justice Roy said.
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The bench further said, “The state of Maharashtra refused the option to challenge the order and that the jurisdiction of the Mumbai Police conducting probe under Section 174 CrPC (enquire on suicide) is limited for a definite purpose but is not an investigation of a crime under Section 157 of the CrPC.” “If any other case is registered regarding Sushant’s death, the same shall be probed by CBI only,” the court added.
The court also said, “Mumbai police too has jurisdiction in the case. But given the allegations and counter-charges, it seems fit to invoke its powers under Article 142 and ok CBI probe “to ensure public confidence in the investigation and to do complete justice in the matter”.
The apex court, however, ruled out any wrongdoing by the Mumbai police. “Records of the case produced before it “does not prima facie suggest any wrongdoing by the Mumbai Police. However, their obstruction to the Bihar police team at Mumbai could have been avoided since it gave rise to suspicion on the bonafide of their inquiry”.
The court was hearing a plea filed by actor Rhea Chakraborty to transfer to Mumbai the FIR filed in Patna in connection with the case. Rhea had moved the apex court after Patna police lodged an FIR on Sushant’s father’s complaint, accusing her and five others of abetment to suicide, cheating, criminal breach of trust, criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement.
Reacting to the verdict, Singh’s lawyer Vikas Singh said this is a victory for Sushant’s family. “This is a victory for Sushant Singh Rajput’s family. SC ruled on all points in our favour. The Court also clearly said that the FIR registered at Patna was correct,” ANI quoted Vikas Singh as saying.
He further said, “SC also said that any other FIR registered in connection with the Sushant Singh Rajput’s death will also be investigated by the CBI. We hope that we should get justice very soon. The family is very happy with the verdict.”
Rhea’s lawyer Satish Mane Shinde also reacted to the judgment, saying the actress maintains that the truth will remain the same whichever agency investigates the case. “SC after examining the facts and circumstances of the case and the report of the Mumbai Police has observed that it will be the desired justice as Rhea herself called for a CBI investigation,” Maneshinde said.
“Rhea will appear and face the investigation by the CBI as she has done earlier with the Mumbai Police and the Enforcement Directorate. She maintains that the truth will remain the same whichever agency investigates the case,” he added.
Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey also expressed his happiness over the judgment and said it has strengthened the trust people have in the Court. “I am very happy. The Supreme Court’s order has strengthened the trust people have in the Court and has assured the nation that justice will be delivered…Today’s verdict has proved that Bihar Police was correct. The way Mumbai Police behaved was illegal,” Pandey told ANI.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh, on the other hand, said, “Once we get the order copy, we will examine it and decide further course of action. We have spoken to our advocates in the Supreme Court to send us the order copy.”
In her affidavit, Rhea had said that Bihar Police has no jurisdiction in the case, while Sushant’s father had 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”. Rhea has also maintained that she had no problem with the CBI inquiry.
On August 11, the top court had reserved its verdict on the petition. During the hearing, both the Bihar and Maharashtra governments had accused each other of doing politics over Rajput’s death.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Bihar, had told the bench that “Political pressure is in Maharashtra and not in Bihar…Mumbai Police did not give us any documents… They are not cooperating… What are they fearing in this case?”
The advocate had vehemently objected to remarks in an affidavit filed by Maharashtra that the “Chief Minister of Bihar is reported to be responsible for registration of FIR in Patna”, and had said the “state of Bihar very consciously avoided saying anything about Maharashtra”.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Maharashtra, countered this and said, “I can assure you once a certain election is over, this will not even be discussed …in a state anxiously clutching at straws today”. The case is not about any state but “much larger issue about how federalism is sought to be subverted”, Singhvi submitted and added that the “murder of CrPC is being attempted here”. He contended that there is “grandstanding by every anchor, commentator, lawyer, non-lawyer….”
Also, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre, had referred to the Maharashtra affidavit stating that Mumbai Police had recorded statements of 56 witnesses and none of them have a doubt about Rajput committing suicide. “It is foregone conclusion by one agency that it was suicide which they are now trying to press before highest court of the land by saying statements of 56 persons recorded,” he contended.
On August 5, the Supreme Court had taken up Chakraborty’s petition, saying “whether there is any criminality in the situation is the matter to be investigated”.
Rajput, aged 34, was found hanging from the ceiling of his apartment in suburban Bandra in Mumbai on June 14.
Here’s how the political leaders have reacted to the SC verdict:
BJP leader and leader of Opposition in the state Devendra Fadnavis said, “Maharashtra government should introspect on the way Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case was handled in the State.”
BJP leader Jay Panda said, “I think SC verdict is natural. There were too many things that were odd about these two Bollywood deaths of Sushant Singh Rajput and his former business manager. This whole issue had struck a chord with millions of people. He had symbolised aspirational India.”
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said, “The Supreme Court verdict has come, once we get a copy of the order we will comment on it.”
Union minister and Arrah MP RK Singh said, “It’s (SC order for transferring case to CBI) a matter of satisfaction for people of Bihar who want fair investigation in #SushantSinghRajput’s death case. It was unfortunate that Mumbai police was not carrying out proper investigation in case.”
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, “I welcome the Supreme Court verdict recommending CBI probe in the case. This is victory for justice. On 30th June, we had demanded a CBI probe. But, the Bihar Government took 42 days to wake up.”
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “Those in the government who know the law, the Mumbai Police Commissioner or our Advocate General can talk about it, it is not fit for me to comment on the verdict of Supreme Court.” He further said, “Supreme Court has given its verdict, it is not right to make political comments. Our state’s justice system has always been one of the best in the country, no one is above law here & to provide justice to all has been the norm.”
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan said, “Not only the truth will surface now but those name will also come out who were behind disrupting the investigation in the case. I hope the Court’s order has brought relief to Sushant’s family.”
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