Sushant Singh Rajput’s death: The politics and the probe

The death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput has triggered a full-blown political wrangle, with the clamour for a CBI probe into his death growing louder by the day.

Mumbai, July 31:

Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14. In the six weeks since, Sushant Singh Rajput’s death has become a full-blown political wrangle. The clamour for a CBI probe into his death is growing louder by the day.

Mumbai Police, which is probing the case, has called it a suicide but is continuing its investigation to rule out any foul play. Sushant Singh Rajput left no suicide note. Mumbai Police, during the course of its investigation, said he was under medication for depression.

While Mumbai Police kept calling Bollywood celebrities and people in close contact with Sushant Singh Rajput for questioning, a campaign gained momentum on social media for a CBI probe. Several people alleged that the Mumbai Police had a “hidden agenda” and was trying to prove it a case of suicide.

BJP MP from Jharkhand Nishikant Dubey is among those demanding a CBI probe into the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. On June 18 — four days after Sushant was found hanging — Dubey claimed that Sushant Singh Rajput was “pressured” to end his life. Dubey blamed his death on “mafia” and “syndicate” operating in Bollywood. He demanded a probe by the CBI or a judicial officer or the NIA, which usually probes terror-related cases.

The demand was echoed by Kangna Ranaut, a Bollywood actor considered to be a BJP supporter by the liberal camp. She blamed the death of Sushant Singh Rajput on “movie mafia” and the culture of nepotism in the film industry.

The demand for CBI probe kept growing with BJP leaders one after another saying they had no confidence in the Mumbai Police to probe the case. The list includes actor-turned BJP MP Rupa Ganguly and Sushant Singh Rajput’s cousin Neeraj Singh, an MLA in Bihar.

Now, even Subramanian Swamy has shot off letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a CBI probe into Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

In his second letter, Swamy listed 26 reasons why there should be a joint investigation by CBI, ED and NIA into Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

There is a Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra. So, the BJP leaders’ demand appear politically natural. But they are not the only politicians to demand such a probe.

In Bihar, BJP’s principal rival RJD held a press conference to demand a CBI probe into Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Sushant Singh Rajput was from Bihar and his death by suicide has triggered an emotive response among the state’s people. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav held the press conference with another actor-politician from Bihar Shekhar Suman.

Now, miffed with the Congress over developments in Rajasthan, BSP president Mayawati too has pressed for a CBI probe. Her comments came after Sushant Singh Rajput’s father filed a case against the actor’s girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty, for abetment of suicide in Patna.

The demand for a CBI probe has intensified even as Maharashtra home minister and Congress leader Anil Deshmukh rejected the call for an investigation by the central agency. Mayawati in her response to Deshmukh’s refusal said Maharashtra government should get “serious” as its stand is “not appropriate”.

Curiously, the Mumbai Police has continued questioning people in connection with the case even after a viscera report indicated no foul play. Prepared by the Kalina-based Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), the viscera report was “negative”, meaning the forensic team found no suspicion of foul play.

The post-mortem report of Sushant Singh Rajput had earlier said the 34-year-old died due to asphyxia consistent with suicide.

Nonetheless, the situation now is that Rhea Chakraborty has moved the Supreme Court against the FIR lodged by Bihar Police. She is seeking that the case remain in Mumbai. The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking CBI probe into the case saying let the police do their job.

Since Sushant Singh Rajput died in Mumbai, the Bihar Police has technically “zero” jurisdiction in the case. In such cases, police units registering an FIR transfer the matter to the concerned police unit that has jurisdiction over the matter.

However, Bihar Police sent a team to Mumbai, where they recorded statements of at least half-a-dozen people. This triggered a war of words between Maharashtra and Bihar administrations. This lays ground for more intense politics over the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.

On its part, the Mumbai Police is recording statements of people, including some big names of Bollywood — Mahesh Bhatt, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Kangna Ranaut, Shekhar Kapur, Aditya Chopra, Mukesh Chhabra and Rhea Chakraborty. The case has not moved even inch beyond recording of statements.

Given the pressure from the BJP leaders, the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP government appears to have kept the option of questioning some unknown big names from the industry open so that the rival camp does not get a clear upper hand.

People may never know what pushed Sushant Singh Rajput to die by suicide as he left not note. Mourning over his death has continued for over six weeks, and politics has ensured that inter-state rivalry reaches an unprecedented level over someone’s demise.

 

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