Sushant Singh Rajput case | Mumbai cops, Rhea Chakraborty are speaking in one voice: Bihar DGP
Bihar top cop fumes over 'forced quarantine' of his SP, questions Mumbai police's lack of cooperation to his men, as CM Nitish Kumar backs Patna probe into Sushant's death
The Bihar police on Monday said both the local police and the accused in the alleged suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput want the same thing — transfer of abetment of suicide case to Mumbai from Patna. The allegations followed the 'forceful quarantine' of Patna City Superintendent of Police Vinay Tiwari hours after his arrival in Mumbai on Sunday. He had come to oversee the probe by his junior officers.
As the quarantine of Tiwari till August 15 derailed the Patna police's latest strategy in the case, Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey conducted a high-level meeting at the police headquarters in Patna on Monday to decide the next course of action. Tiwari, who was heading the probe in Patna, was sent to Mumbai to supervise the Bihar police team conducting investigations into the abetment of suicide case. The case was filed in Patna following Rajput's father Krishna Kishore Singh's allegations that actor Rhea Chakraborty and her relatives transferred Rajput's money from his account into theirs.
Gupteshwar Pandey, DGP, Bihar
'Seen nothing like this before'
Fuming over the "forceful quarantine" of Tiwari in Mumbai, the Bihar DGP told mid-day, "Police teams from all over India visit Bihar in connection with their respective cases and we, the Bihar Police, give them full cooperation. I never heard of anything like this before."
"How will we investigate a case if Mumbai police do not cooperate with us? We are working on our next course of action." Speaking about Chakraborty's petition in the Supreme Court, seeking the transfer of the abetment of suicide case to Mumbai from Bihar, Pandey said, "The accused [Chakraborty] has approached the Supreme Court... seeking to transfer the case from Patna to Mumbai, and they [the Mumbai police] are talking just like the accused, demanding that the case be transferred to them. This matter is sub-judice, we shouldn't comment about it. Let the honourable Supreme Court decide," Pandey told mid-day.
Param Bir Singh, Mumbai CP
"Mumbai police have not registered any FIR till date; they have only filed one Accidental Death Report," he added.
Serious communication gap
"The matter is not about Bihar police vs Mumbai police, but about Rajput's death case, which must be thoroughly investigated and the mystery behind his alleged suicide must be unfolded and the victim must get justice," Pandey said.
"For that, we both [Bihar and Mumbai police] have to work in tandem, but there is a lack of coordination and serious communication gap. This is why we had sent a senior IPS officer to Mumbai to bridge the gap as we thought our previous set of officers may hesitate to approach the local senior officials. But he was forcefully quarantined," he added.
Meanwhile, Inspector General Police (IGP), Patna Central, Sanjay Kumar Singh told mid-day he was writing to the BMC, opposing the quarantine of Tiwari. "We think his 'home quarantine' was not required. So, we are in the process of sending a letter to the BMC to oppose their move."
'They can't enter our zone'
Later on Monday, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, however, asked the Bihar police to furnish documents supporting their move to come to Mumbai to investigate a case registered in Patna.
"We have asked them under what law they have entered our area to investigate the matter and are seeking documents. If they have a special provision to investigate this case [in Mumbai], they can show it to us. If they have registered an FIR in Patna, they have no legal right to enter our zone to investigate the matter. They can register a case but as per law, they can transfer the case to us," he told mid-day. "Still, we are taking a legal opinion to know if they have the right to enter our area to investigate and demand documents related to the case [registered in Patna]," he added.
Legal experts say
The legal experts, too, said the matter should be investigated by the Mumbai police.
Advocate Mubin Solkar said, "There is one ADR in Mumbai and an FIR is registered in Patna. Ideally, the investigation should be conducted by Mumbai police as the actor allegedly committed suicide in the city. But in this case, the Supreme Court has to decide as the accused [Chakraborty] has filed a petition to transfer the case to Mumbai from Patna." "Ordinarily an offence has to be investigated and tried where the offence has taken place. Mumbai police is still empowered to register an FIR and carry out the investigation."
Advocate Abad Ponda said, "Mumbai police have registered an ADR and have not come to any conclusion in the past 40 days. Meanwhile, Patna police have registered a cognisable offence against Chakraborty and her relatives in connection with the alleged suicide of Rajput. Now, she has moved to the Supreme Court and according to me, the matter must be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation to end the differences between Mumbai police and their Bihar counterpart."
Mumbai police have so far recorded statements of 56 people, including the bigwigs of Bollywood. The senior Mumbai police officers remain tight-lipped about the investigation.
Rajput was found dead at his Bandra home on June 14.
Tiwari's quarantine inappropriate: Bihar CM
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, too, called SP Vinay Tiwari's quarantine in Mumbai "inappropriate and forcible". "Whatever has been done to [SP Tiwari] is inappropriate," Kumar told journalists in Patna. The issue resonated in the two Houses of Bihar legislature, with lawmakers across the political divide demanding a CBI investigation into the death of the 34-year-old Patna-born actor.
Kumar said the matter has been taken up with the authorities in Maharashtra by DGP Gupteshwar Pandey. Asked if he would himself have a word with his Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, he said, "It is not a political matter. The issue at hand is a legal obligation of the Bihar police. We will make all possible efforts to fulfil the same." He, however, ducked queries about recommending a CBI inquiry into the matter, the demand for which has been raised by at least two of the deceased actor's sisters.
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