Bihar cop leading Sushant death probe quarantined
Bihar Police alleged that Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Vinay Tiwari was “forcibly quarantined” even as chief minister Nitish Kumar termed the move “inappropriate”.Updated: Aug 04, 2020 02:47 IST
The Sushant Singh Rajput case turned into a full-fledged inter-state fight on Monday with civic authorities in Mumbai quarantining a senior Bihar Police officer at the helm of an investigation into the actor’s suspected suicide, which has sparked a debate on mental health issues, how the film industry treats outsiders, and also the circumstances that led to his death on June 14.
Bihar Police alleged that Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Vinay Tiwari was “forcibly quarantined” even as chief minister Nitish Kumar termed the move “inappropriate”. In its defence, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the step was taken in accordance with the Maharashtra government’s guidelines to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Later in the day, the Mumbai Police, who too are probing the death of the 34-year-old actor separately, said Bihar Police did not have any jurisdiction to investigate the case, bringing to the fore the differences between the police forces in the two states over the high-profile case that has come under media spotlight.
“The law is clear. If the incident has not happened in our jurisdiction, we register a ‘zero’ first information report [FIR], and transfer it to the concerned state police. We do not know how Bihar Police are investigating the case,” Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh said, speaking to the media for the first time on the actor’s death.
“They [Bihar Police] approached us and asked for some documents; we asked them under what section they were asking for the documents,” he said.
Rajput, who had a short but promising career, was found hanging at his Bandra residence in Mumbai. The mystery surrounding his death has moved on from theories on and investigations into how nepotism in Bollywood may have claimed his life to allegations of a criminal conspiracy involving his girlfriend.
Earlier in the day, a row erupted over BMC’s decision to quarantine IPS officer Tiwari, the Patna City superintendent of police, at the State Reserve Police Force facility in suburban Goregaon on Sunday. His hand stamp indicated that he will be in isolation till August 15. Tiwari arrived at the Mumbai airport on Sunday and told reporters there that he was there to supervise a Bihar Police team, which is already in city, and probe all angles in the death of Rajput.
On Monday, Bihar CM Kumar voiced strong disapproval of Tiwari being put in quarantine. “Whatever has been done to him is inappropriate,” Kumar told reporters when asked about the police officer.
Kumar said the matter was taken up with authorities in Maharashtra by Bihar director general of police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey. “He [Pandey] will himself speak to the authorities concerned,” Kumar said.
When asked about whether he would have a word with Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Kumar 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.”
Bihar DGP Pandey broke the news on Twitter and also shared footage of Tiwari with a quarantine stamp on his hand. He alleged that Tiwari was “forcibly quarantined” by BMC authorities. Pandey also said the officer was denied accommodation in the IPS officers’ mess and was made to stay at a guest house in Goregaon.
BMC said the decision to quarantine Tiwari was taken in line with the Maharashtra government’s directives dated May 25 that mention home quarantine for domestic travellers on arrival, among others. Tiwari will have to make a formal request to BMC for relaxing the necessary quarantine period, it said in a statement.
Separately, the Enforcement Directorate questioned Rajput’s chartered accountant (CA) in connection with a money laundering probe that stemmed from the complaint lodged by the actor’s father with the Bihar Police, officials said.
Mumbai Police have so far recorded statements of over 50 people, including those from the actor’s family, his cook and people from the film industry.
At his press briefing, Mumbai Police commissioner Singh said an investigation was on and various angles such as “personal rivalry, financial distress and health-related issues” were being looked into. “We have consulted experts, examined phones, gadgets and other evidence,” he said.
Singh said there is no evidence of any party at Rajput’s residence on June 13 or June 14. “We have examined CCTV footage of the building and recorded statements of every member in the house...,” he said.
Singh said Rajput used to search his name on Google. “We are in touch with the five doctors whom he consulted...We are also in touch with a chartered accountant,” Singh said. He added that the Mumbai Police did not find any misappropriation of Rajput’s money.
The Bihar Police are probing a separate “abetment to suicide” case on the basis of a complaint filed by the actor’s father in Patna on July 28. In the complaint, he accused Rhea Chakraborty, Rajput’s girlfriend and an actress herself, of having befriended his son in May 2019 with the intention of furthering her own career.
Meanwhile, Chakraborty’s lawyer refuted the Bihar Police’s claim that she was “missing”, and said till date she was yet to receive any summons from them in connection with the case of Rajput’s death.
(With agency inputs)