ED questions Rhea for 9 hours in Sushant caseUpdated: Aug 08, 2020 07:13 IST
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned actor Rhea Chakraborty for nearly nine hours on Friday in a money-laundering case it has registered in connection with Sushant Singh Raput’s suspected suicide on June 14. The 28-year-old Chakraborty, Rajput’s girlfriend at the time of his death, arrived at the agency’s office in Balard Estate area around 11:50am after her request to defer the questioning was turned down. She left the ED office at around 8:45pm.
The agency, which investigates money laundering and foreign exchange violations, also questioned Chakraborty’s bro-ther, Showik, and her business manager, Shruti Modi, who worked for Rajput as well. Their statements were recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). ED officials privy to details said the agency was looking into Chakraborty’s tax returns and investments. The officials said Chakraborty respo-nded to most of the questions.
A property located in the Khar area of Mumbai is also being probed by ED for the source of its purchase and ownership. Chakraborty told interrogators that she took around ~60 lakh home loan for the property worth ~84 lakh, according to the officials.
When ED officials asked her about the remaining amount, she said she arranged the rest on her own and made the payment through cheques, the officials said. Investigators also tried to get more information on the formation of four companies by Rajput, Chakraborty and her family. While two of these companies were registered, the rest of the two were under the process of getting registered. Chakraborty said she did not siphon of anyone’s money, the officials said.
“She has been examined and her statement...(has been) recorded... She’s always cooperated with investigations with police and ED. She has nothing to hide. In the event she’s called again, she will appear at the appointed time,” Satish Maneshinde, her lawyer and senior counsel, said. “Rhea Chakraborty is a law-abiding citizen. In view of the fact that ED has informed the media that the request to postpone the attendance is rejected, she appeared before the ED at the appointed time and date,” Maneshinde said in a statement earlier in the day. Chakraborty initially refused to appear before the agency, citing her appeal pending before the SC. She has requested that the FIR filed in Patna be transferred to Mumbai, arguing that Bihar Police have no jurisdiction.
Rajput’s death has sparked a debate on mental health issues, how the film industry treats outsiders, and also the circumstances that led to his suspected suicide. The mystery 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 Chakraborty.
ED filed a case on July 31 on the basis of a first information report (FIR) by the Bihar Police. The FIR was registered after a complaint by Rajput’s father, KK Singh, who accused Chakraborty and her family of abetting the actor’s suicide and siphoning of his money.
Singh accused that close to ~15 crore were transferred from Rajput’s account to unknown persons not linked to him. He said his son’s credit cards were with Chakraborty.
Alongside ED, the CBI, too, has launched a probe on the request of the Bihar government and named Chakraborty, her brother and four other family members, apart from unknown persons, as accused. The Bihar Police have handed over their case files to CBI in the midst of a jurisdictional dispute with the Maharashtra Police, who have filed an accidental death report.
Rajput’s roommate, Siddharth Pithani, too has been called by ED to appear on Saturday, PTI reported. Pithani, an IT professional stated to be living with Rajput for about a year, is believed to be out of Mumbai and he has said in news channel interviews that he was present in the Bandra flat on June 14, when the 34-year-old actor hanged himself. The agency has already questioned Rajput’s chartered accountant, Sandeep Shridhar, and his house manager and staff, Samuel Miranda, twice.