Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said he deplores attempts to question the Mumbai Police’s efficiency in handling the probe into Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
Uddhav said the city police is capable of probing the case, an assertion which comes against the backdrop of a growing clamour by Bharatiya Janata Party politicians for a CBI probe in the actor’s death.
Uddhav lashed out at Maharashtra Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, saying the BJP politician had doubted the Mumbai police’s credibility in handling the case despite being a chief minister for five years.
“The Opposition can even bring Interpol or followers of the Namaste Trump event into the inquiry. Devendra Fadnavis should understand that it is the same police whom he has worked with in the last five years,” Uddhav said at an event organised by a Marathi television news channel.
There is a “huge public sentiment” about handing over the case to the CBI, but the Uddhav-led government has been reluctant to do so, Fadnavis alleged.
Uddhav said the Mumbai police have been “corona warriors” and many personnel in the force have died due to the infection.
To question their efficiency is an insult to them and “I condemn this,” he added.
Uddhav said if anyone has any proof related to the case, s/he can bring it to the Mumbai police.
“We will interrogate and punish the guilty. However, please don’t use this case as a Maharashtra versus Bihar issue. This is the most deplorable thing to do,” he said.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had recently said that the Mumbai police are capable of handling the matter and that there was no need for a CBI probe into the case.
The Mumbai police have recorded the statements of Bollywood personalities including Sanjay Leela Bhansali, film critic Rajeev Masand, actress Sanjana Sanghi, the actor’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, casting director Shanoo Sharma, film-maker Mukesh Chhabra, and Aditya Chopra of Yash Raj Films.
The police have so far recorded statements of around 40 people, including those of Rajput’s family and his cook.
Rajput, 34, was found hanging at his apartment in Bandra, north west Mumbai, on June 14.
The Bihar police team, which is in Mumbai to investigate an ‘abetment to suicide’ case related to Sushant’s death on Friday sought assistance from their counterparts in Mumbai to probe the matter, a city police officer said.
The visiting Bihar police team on Friday evening submitted a written application seeking the Mumbai police’s assistance in probing the case, he said.
Members of the Bihar police team visited the deputy commissioner of police (crime)’s office in Andheri, north west Mumbai, and submitted the application, the official said.
As a large number of mediapersons had gathered at the spot, Mumbai police personnel took the Bihar police officers in their vehicle and dropped them at a place nearby, he said.
A video of the Bihar police team being taken into the Mumbai police vehicle surfaced on some social media sites and messaging apps.
Asked about it, the Mumbai police official said the local police were only ensuring the visiting team’s safety.
The four-member Bihar police team arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday a day after Rajput’s father K K Singh registered a case against Rhea Chakraborty and others in Patna.
The Patna case was registered under various IPC sections including 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and 306 (abetment of suicide).
Singh accused Chakraborty, a budding actor, of having befriended his son in May 2019 with the intention of furthering her career.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal criticised the Mumbai police for its handling of Rajput’s suicide case. Modi said the CBI should take over the case as the Mumbai police was putting obstruction in way of fair investigation by the Bihar police on the complaint lodged by the actor’s father.
Modi, who had called on Rajput’s father at his home last month to offer his condolences, tweeted ‘Mumbai police is putting obstruction in way of fair investigation by Bihar police in Sushant death case.’
‘Bihar police is doing its best but Mumbai police is not cooperating. BJP feels that CBI should take over this case.’
Ajay Nishad, the BJP MP from Muzaffarpur, wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah seeking a CBI inquiry into the Patna-born actor’s suicide.
Nishad sought to draw Shah’s attention to ‘the mysterious death of a glorious son of Bihar.’
In the letter, Nishad rued that ‘despite lapse of a month, the exact reasons leading to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death have not been ascertained.’
Alleging that the actor’s bereaved family had been ‘left in the dark’/ by the Mumbai police which ‘appears to be engaged in an eyewash, failing to even register an FIR’, Nishad asserted under the circumstances ‘a CBI inquiry is the only option we are left with’.
Sanjay Jaiswal, who represents Pashchim Champaran in the Lok Sabha, issued a statement saying ‘it was always suspected that Mumbai police is trying to brush things under the carpet and the apprehensions have grown in the wake of reports of non-cooperation with the visiting Bihar police team.’
The state BJP chief demanded that the investigation be /fully handed over to the Bihar police, which alone seems capable of cracking the case.’
Rhea Chakraborty has filed a petition in the Supreme Court questioning the Bihar police’s jurisdiction in the matter and seeking a transfer from Patna to Mumbai of the case of abetment of suicide and fraud lodged against her and members of her family by Rajput’s father.