Rajput suicide: CM supports Mumbai PoliceUpdated: Aug 04, 2020 00:18 IST
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and home minister Anil Deshmukh are determined to not hand over the investigation into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) despite mounting pressure. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has criticised the state government for its handling of the case, there is division within the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi alliance with Congress leaders favouring the transfer of the case to CBI and Shiv Sena supporting Mumbai Police’s investigation.
Thackeray held a high level meeting with police officers on Sunday evening, in which he was briefed on the progress made by Mumbai Police in its investigation. Thackeray was reportedly satisfied with how the probe into the actor’s suicide is being handled. Deshmukh, who has previously said there is no need to hand the case over to CBI, on Monday morning said, “Mumbai Police is investigating the case professionally.”
Following rumours and allegations on social media that claimed a state minister is implicated in the case, the state government has decided to take action against those attempting to defame the government. “Through social media and a section of media, it is being repeatedly projected that the son of a minister had attended the party at Sushant’s residence a day before he died. It’s false propaganda to transfer the case to the central agency. We have decided to take a serious note of and action against it,” said a state government official who was at the meeting.
Some in the bureaucracy and the state Cabinet feel the Maharashtra government has struggled to tackle how the episode has been politicised by the Opposition. “Right from a case in Patna to a strategic movement of creating suspicion about involvement of a Maharashtra minister, it was a well thought out strategy by the Opposition. Instead of giving a fitting reply, the government seems to have fallen prey to it. We could not even take advantage of the doubtful integrity of the director general of Bihar Police who has been blaming Mumbai and Maharashtra Police. Goof ups at the local level by stamping the Bihar Police officer with a quarantine mark has further damaged our image. Our opinion is that the case should be handed over to CBI as it appears to be just a suicide with no foul play involved,” said a senior Congress leader requesting anonymity.
After Vinay Tiwari of Patna City police was quarantined by BMC on Sunday, former chief minister of Maharashtra and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had questioned why Tiwari had been singled out for quarantine and described the state government’s decisions regarding the investigation into Rajput’s death as “really strange”. BJP leader Ram Kadam has questioned if the state government was trying to “hush up” certain incidents and referred to a conspiracy theory that Mumbai Police has since debunked, which claimed a state minister had attended a party at the residence of Rajput’s former manager Disha Salian, who died by suicide on June 8. Mumbai Police has said there is no evidence to connect Salian and Rajput’s deaths.
On Monday, the commissioner of Mumbai Police said in a press conference that Bihar Police has no jurisdiction over Rajput’s suicide case, but senior officials in the home department speculated that the Centre could take over the case using the first information report (FIR) filed in Patna. “Mumbai Police has not filed any FIR so far as they have not found any substance to convert the accidental death report into an FIR. Patna Police has already filed an FIR and it can be handed over to the CBI for which Maharashtra government’s consent is not required. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has already expressed his willingness for the transfer. The hearing in the Supreme Court on Wednesday now bears great significance, but it will paint Maharashtra and Mumbai Police in poor light,” said an official.
The Supreme Court will hear actor Rhea Chakraborty’s plea to transfer the FIR lodged against her in the case of Rajput’s suicide from Patna to Mumbai, today.
Police officer turned lawyer YP Singh said, “Without state consent or an order from the Apex or high court, the transfer cannot take place. If Mumbai Police has not lodged an FIR, it is right on its part as it may not have found adequate evidence against anybody.”
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant accused the BJP of defaming Mumbai Police. “Maharashtra BJP leaders, on the orders of their high command, are defaming our police. Director general of police of Bihar is at the forefront in the attempt. The DGP is facing serious charges in a case, which was being investigated by the CBI. The officer wanted to contest election as a BJP candidate in the past,” he said.
Sawant also questioned why Rajput’s father had not registered a complaint with Mumbai Police. In their signed statements, none of Rajput’s family members, including his father, had mentioned any suspicion of foul play, said Mumbai Police.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday also came out in support of Mumbai Police. “If Mumbai Police is already investigating the case, anyone not related to the Maharashtra government and not related to the case should not comment on it as Mumbai Police is capable of conducting the probe on its own,” Raut said.
He said anyone claiming the police investigation was compromised because a state minister was involved in the case should come forward.
“They should openly name the person. Saying such baseless things is not even politics, I think. People know everything. This should be stopped immediately. Mumbai Police should be allowed to carry on with its work,” he said.
Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant on Monday alleged Bihar Police officers had used luxury cars owned by BJP office bearers while in Mumbai. Speaking to ANI, Sawant said, “Whose vehicles were those? The BMW belonged to a BJP office bearer. If Bihar Police travels in it, you can understand the politics.”
Rajput, 34, was found dead in his apartment in Bandra in Mumbai on June 14. The post mortem declared he had died by suicide. A police investigation into the circumstances of his death is underway.