Sushant Singh Rajput death: CBI questions Rhea, brother; ED issues summons to Goa hotelier

ByManish K Pathak, Mumbai
Aug 29, 2020 12:31 AM IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) began questioning actor Rhea Chakraborty, her brother Showik Chakraborty on Friday in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case. Rhea, who arrived for questioning at 10.30am at the DRDO guest house at Santacruz, left around 9pm. The CBI also questioned Rajput’s flatmate and creative manager Siddharth Pithani, cook Neeraj Singh and domestic help Keshav Bachner, too, for the fourth consecutive day on Friday.

HT Image
HT Image

Meanwhile, Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials issued summons to a Goa-based hotelier, Gaurav Arya, and have called him for questioning on Monday in a parallel probe into allegations of money laundering related to the Rajput case. Arya runs Hotel Tamarind and Café Cotinga in Goa.

ED officials visited Hotel Tamarind at Anjuna, a coastal village in north Goa, but found the property to be shut. They have stuck a notice on the door of the hotel, which according to officials has been shut since the lockdown restrictions were enforced in March to contain the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The notice stated that Arya must meet Rajiv Kumar, assistant director, ED, at 11am on Monday in connection with a case filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

Arya has also been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, and is being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The NCB had on Wednesday registered a first information report (FIR) against Rhea, Showik, talent manager Jaya Saha, Rajput’s former manager Shruti Modi and Arya under sections 20, 22, 27 and 29 of the NDPS Act.

The NCB action came after the ED wrote to the agency, asking it to probe if drugs were supplied to Rajput and Rhea. Arya’s name cropped in Rhea’s WhatsApp conversations related to drugs. ED officials, however, refused to divulge details of whether there were any financial transactions between Arya and Rajput, or Chakraborty or others named in the Enforcement Case Information Report registered by ED.

On Thursday, ED had questioned Saha and also summoned Rhea’s father, Indrajeet Chakraborty, to access his family’s bank lockers in the Vakola branch of Axis Bank. Earlier on August 10, ED had questioned Rhea, Indrajeet and Showik. Later, Modi and Pithani, too, were questioned.

Investigators had extracted information into the formation of four companies by Rajput and Chakraborty, and her family. Two of these companies were registered, while the other two were under the process of being registered. Investigators wanted to understand the terms mentioned in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during the formation of these companies to understand how the profit sharing was designed.

ED sources said Rhea had responded to all questions, but could not divulge details of the exact sequence of events. ED has also questioned Rajput’s house manager Samuel Miranda, Chakraborty’s chartered accountant (CA) Ritesh Shah, and Rajput’s CA Sandeep Sridhar in the case.

Rajput, 34, was found dead in his Bandra flat on June 14. The post-mortem report concluded he died by suicide. After a two-week quiet, a controversy erupted over the death, as a Bihar police team constituted to probe the case on a complaint by the actor’s family alleged it got no cooperation from its Mumbai counterparts. The probe was handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the Supreme Court, after it upheld the validity of the Bihar Police’s first information report (FIR) filed on the basis of a complaint by Rajput’s father, KK Singh, who has accused actor Rhea Chakraborty and her family of abetting his son’s suicide and misappropriating his money.

Rhea, who has been questioned multiple times by the agencies, has denied all allegations levelled against her.

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