Sushant Singh Rajput death case: 10 big questions before the CBI
The unprecedented tug of war between Mumbai and Bihar Police over actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case seems to have finally reached its fate. On Thursday evening, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered FIRs against actor Rhea Chakraborty and five others. The CBI took over the case after much deliberation, appeal from fans, petitions on social media and mounting political pressure. There are several key questions expected to be answered in the case that has captured the nation’s imagination over the past month. We bring you a compilations of ten unsolved puzzles in the case, floating about in media platforms, and in the minds of millions of the fans of the late actor.
Question 1. Why was no action taken when Rajput’s family had alerted in February that his life could be in danger?
On August 3, Rajput’s father, KK Singh, released a video stating that he had informed Bandra Police (Mumbai) on February 25 that he was worried for his son’s life. To substantiate the claim, the family released transcripts of chats between Rajput’s brother-in-law, OP Singh and Mumbai Police, where it was mentioned that Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty’s family had taken the late actor to a resort near the airport, kept him there for three months and had been managing his business affairs since. To this claim, Mumbai Police responded in a statement that, “...no such written complaint has been addressed to Bandra Police Station on that date... OP Singh wanted this to be resolved informally to which the then DCP Zone 9 clearly told him that it was not possible.” It is left for CBI to now decide if cognizance could be taken of the claim.
Question 2. What came of the probe in Rajput’s former manager, Disha Salian’s, case who died six days prior to Sushant under mysterious circumstances?
Many have been wondering if there’s a link between Rajput and Salian’s death, as both were told off as deaths by suicide, fairly early on. On August 1, when the Bihar Police team reached the Malwani Police Station in Mumbai seeking details about Salian’s death, they were reportedly informed that the folder having details of Salian’s case has been “deleted by accident” and can’t be retrieved. However, on August 2, Mumbai Police officials denied it, and said that they have everything on record and all documents are available with them. “...family (Disha’s) has given no complaint against anyone,” said the officials. Will the mystery behind Salian’s death be finally solved to further prove if it had any connection with Rajput’s case?
Question 3. Why is no one talking about the missing CCTV footage, the duplicate keys, and the 50 SIM cards?
It has been reported widely on various media platforms that the CCTV footage of Rajput’s building from the night before he died isn’t available — whether that is indeed the case or not has not been clarified. Also, the duplicate keys of his room were allegedly missing, and hence a locksmith had to be called in the morning during the lockdown to break the door open. And then it was reported that the keys were found soon after.
Also, there are reports that the Sushant changed over 50 SIM cards in his phone in the last one month. It remains to be seen if the details of all those have been taken out, and the call history traced. Several in the know of legal and criminal investigative procedures have pointed out to the ligature mark on his neck not matching with the cloth used for hanging, and several bruises on his body. All these would make for key potential evidence before the CBI investigators.
Question 4. Are Rajput’s flatmate Siddharth Pithani‘s statements inconsistent with the household staff’s?
There have been alleged inconsistencies in the statements given by Pithani and what Rajput’s staff members have said. During an interview with news channel Republic TV, while Pithani said he didn’t know anything about the actor’s mental health, he also admitted to giving him two tablets of some medicine every day. However, Rajput’s bodyguard, on the condition of anonymity, told the channel that he would fetch the “prescription drugs” from the store, and Chakraborty would give them to Rajput. The late actor’s cook, Neeraj Singh, too, confirmed to the channel that it was Chakraborty who had been administering medicines to Rajput that led to him being asleep for the most part of the day.
Question 5. How did Rhea manage to hire the most expensive lawyer to take her case?
Soon after Rajput’s father filed an FIR in Patna against Rhea Chakraborty, she hired celebrity lawyer, Satish Manshinde, to represent her. However, questions are being raised about how the actor’s hiring of one of the most famous and expensive criminal lawyer in Mumbai, who had earlier represented Sanjay Dutt in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blast case and Salman Khan in the hit-and-run case. Moreover, the developments of financial irregularities in Rajput’s bank statement where Rs 15 crore were transferred from his account have also posed serious doubts. Chakraborty has already been summoned by Enforcement Directorate in case of money laundering.
Question 6. Did Rhea resist Bihar Police’s involvement, and was Maharashtra government against CBI probe?
After Rajput’s family filed an FIR in Patna against Rhea for abetment of suicide among other charges, Bihar Police got involved in the investigation and in turn, Rhea moved Supreme Court to seek transfer of FIR lodged in Patna on ground of jurisdiction. Also, Maharashtra Home Minister, Anil Deshmukh said that Mumbai Police is capable of doing the investigation and are going in right direction and no CBI enquiry is needed. Does this reluctance, and the eventual intervention of the Supreme Court make investigation in the case more complicated?
Question 7. Why is the IPS officer sent from Bihar kept in quarantine?
The news of senior IPS officer Vinay Tiwari being sent to 14-day quarantine by the BMC soon after his arrival in Mumbai on August 2 in Rajput death probe, was received with scepticism by some. Questions were raised that when the Mumbai Police was informed well in advance about his arrival, why was he put into quarantine? According to IANS, the Bihar DGP had alleged that Tiwari was put under house arrest in Mumbai on the pretext of quarantine. On August 5, the SC also stated that the incident “has not sent a good message”. On the same day, a tweet by Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey claimed that despite a letter from the Patna Inspector General, the BMC has refused to exempt their IPS officer from being quarantined.
Question 8. Is there political involvement in the case beyond mere suspicion?
Over 50 days in the Rajput death case, more than 50 people have been questioned - from former girlfriend, best friends, to family and relatives and members of the film fraternity. However, several questions have been raised about the presence of Maharashtra cabinet minister Aditya Thackeray at a party attended by Disha Salian just prior to her death. The charge has since been denied by Thackeray. The reported allegation also stated that the party took place at actor Sooraj Pancholi’s residence, a charge which has since been denied by Pancholi in an interview to India Today.
Question 9. Why was it declared a ‘open and shut’ suicide case within minutes of Rajput’s body was found?
On June 14, when Rajput was found dead in his rented apartment in Bandra, everything seemed to have happened in so much of a hurry that nobody — including the police, witnesses, hospital authorities — even suspected it could be homicide. Several questions were raised thereafter - why didn’t everyone wait for forensic reports, why wasn’t Rajput’s room sealed immediately after the police arrived, how could pictures of his body and other details from the room be soon after available on social media?
Question 10. Why are details of Rajput’s medical and treatment reports available in the public domains?
When Chakraborty in her statement to Mumbai Police stated that Rajput was suffering from mental health problems and was on medication, which he had stopped taking for the last couple of weeks, it was speculated that he took his life owning to depression. However, soon after his medical reports were shared on social media platforms, then the fact that antidepressants were found in his room was widely shared on news channels. Recently, Mumbai based therapist, Susan Walker, spoke to journalist Barkha Dutt and claimed that Rajput was her client and was “bipolar and suffered from clinical depression”. This posed a big question on the dire need for breach of patient confidentiality, and could become one of the points for a possible investigation into Rajput’s state of mental health.
Interact with the author on Twitter @monikarawal