Mumbai police in the dock over Sushant Singh Rajput case
Other than blaming the BJP for politicising the actor's death, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, in his editorial in the party mouthpiece, Saamna, lists the flaws in the probe led by the NCP-controlled law and order force
Politics needs fodder in the form of one issue or the other. The Sushant Singh Rajput death case has given the Shiv Sena's political opponents an opportunity to drag the state's first family into it, and also create a rift between the ruling partners. The allegations against him have been refuted by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's minister son Aaditya Thackeray, and now the Sena seems to be shifting the blame not only on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but also on the Mumbai police on many counts that the party's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut listed in his opinion piece in the party mouthpiece Saamna, of which he is executive editor.
Raut's opinion holds enormous significance, because he is one of the prime players in the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, and whatever he says or writes, is seen as the party's official line. So, his disappointment in the investigations can be taken as the Sena's sentiment. Raut has also said that the Sena is aware of the politics and the people behind the efforts to defame the Thackerays and the Sena. Calling out Sena's known political opponents is expected of him, but pinpointing the flaws of the city police is like talking beyond the obvious and speaks of his experience as a well-known crime reporter. Politically speaking, his observations have given the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) that controls the police department, a lot of reason to worry about and explain the moves the police have made so far.
In his Sunday column, Raut says that the Mumbai police enormously delayed the investigation. Pointing out certain mistakes, he says the police should have registered a zero First Information Report and carried forward the investigations. But he also says that Sushant Singh Rajput's family did not want any FIR then and had returned to Patna. He adds that the BJP chose to exploit the death politically and created a sensation by connecting a young Maharashtra minister, and then certain news channels, as if they were contracted, dared CM Thackeray over the case. This confused the Mumbai police, adds Raut.
He further says that seeing that the case had become a high-profile one, the police should have ensured that the media was informed regularly. "The police should have said in the beginning that if the names of a minister or politician cropped up, then, his/her statement should also be recorded," says the MP, adding that it should be checked if the case was used to "terrorise" Bollywood, because the celebrities were called for probing, thus creating a scope for gossiping.
According to Raut, Aaditya is a long-time friend of actor Dino Morea and other film stars, but suspicion was created over a party held at Dino's place before Rajput's death. "It is wrong if the CM and his son are subjected to all kinds of allegations, because to speak without proof and make allegations isn't ethical," the leader says, adding, "Is it right to use certain new channels to defame [the Thackerays] even after Aaditya has clarified his position?"
Raut has also given the city police some leads such as the actor's strained relations with his father. He wants the police to probe Rajput's previous separation, because "it is important to know why they were separated". He wants the death of Disha Salian be kept independent of Rajput's suicide because they are totally different cases, and have no connection whatsoever between them. Raut sees the internal politics in the Maharashtra/Mumbai police as another aspect to the controversy. "Some Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey-like officers in the Maharashtra police have added to the woes," he says.
Jurisdiction debate in SC
There can be differences in the Mumbai police over the probe, but the force was unanimous in saying that as per the law, the Bihar police had no jurisdiction to probe the incident in their state. The state has given the Supreme Court an affidavit to this effect, adding that the demand to allow the CBI to probe is politically-motivated. The apex court is expected to decide the case on Tuesday. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has maintained that the state will not hand over the case to the CBI because of the jurisdiction issues and the competence of the police.
On an investigation tour in Mumbai, the Bihar police have narrated their stories befitting a detective novel, and their bosses have spiced it up describing the trip as a fight against all odds like quarantine and non-cooperation from the Mumbai police. The Bihar sleuths say they have gathered crucial information which they will share with the CBI. The ED's Mumbai unit has started investigating the alleged economic offences. Raut's opinion has fuelled the state politics further with the BJP stepping in to show a widening crack in the MVA. Let's see how the ruling partners douse the fire, yet again.
Dharmendra Jore is political editor, mid-day. He tweets @dharmendrajore Send your feedback to email@example.com
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