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Opinion | Tussle between Bihar and Maharashtra will benefit those being probed for Sushant’s death

On Monday, in my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’, I asked Bihar director-general of Police Gupteshwar Pandey, why Bihar police were not transferring the probe to Mumbai police. He replied that the partial cause of action lies in Bihar, because the entire properties of Sushant, who was unmarried, belongs to his father KK Singh, who is unwilling to trust the Mumbai Police. 

Rajat Sharma Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive
New Delhi Published on: August 04, 2020 14:04 IST
Aaj Ki Baat
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Tussle between Bihar and Maharashtra will benefit those being probed for Sushant’s death

The inter-state tussle between Maharashtra and Bihar police over the issue of a probe into actor Sushant Rajput’s death mystery has acquired serious proportions. Mumbai municipal authorities have put the Patna city, SP Vinay Tiwari, under 14 days’ quarantine when he arrived in Mumbai on Sunday to lead his investigation team. Mumbai Police commissioner has said that Bihar police have no jurisdiction over the probe since the place of occurrence was Mumbai. 

Bihar police say, the actor’s father KK Singh is old and infirm, he has no faith in the probe being done by Mumbai police, and since he has filed an FIR in Patna, Bihar police has full authority to probe abetment of suicide case. Mumbai police chief says that Patna police should have filed a zero FIR and transferred it to Mumbai since the actor died in Mumbai.

On Monday, in my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’, I asked Bihar director-general of Police Gupteshwar Pandey, why Bihar police were not transferring the probe to Mumbai police. He replied that the partial cause of action lies in Bihar, because the entire properties of Sushant, who was unmarried, belongs to his father KK Singh, who is unwilling to trust the Mumbai Police. Pandey said this was a clear case of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds and Bihar police have every right to probe this case. He said, during the last four years, Sushant Rajput had nearly Rs 55 crore in his bank accounts, out of which Rs 53 crore were transferred, though he did not buy any big property. 

On the other hand, Mumbai Police says that Sushant had Rs 18 crore in his bank accounts, out of which Rs 4 crore are still lying in his accounts. The city police claimed,  no evidence has been collected so far about any suspicious transfer of funds. 

The Bihar Police DGP said, it was indeed unfortunate that the Patna City SP was quarantined by BMC for 14 days on late Sunday night, and a quarantine stamp was put on his wrist. “This amounts to putting our SP under house arrest. They want to obstruct our investigation”, the Bihar DGP said. 

On its part, the Mumbai police commissioner ruled out handing over documents or reports related to the case to the Bihar Police. In reply, Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey, during his interview on ‘Aaj Ki Baat’, challenged the Mumbai Police chief to communicate the same remark officially in writing to him.

A sorry state of affairs, indeed. 

It is really surprising when Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh says that no amount was transferred from Sushant’s bank accounts to Rhea Chakraborty’s accounts. Nobody has made such an allegation. The question still remains as to which accounts were the money transferred from Sushant’s accounts. Moreover, the Mumbai police chief has said that no evidence has so far been gathered against Rhea Chakraborty. On the contrary, he raised questions about the intention of Sushant’s family members. Can anyone justify such remarks from a city police chief? Will this help in carrying out an impartial probe?

The Bihar Police DGP, in course of his interview on ‘Aaj Ki Baat’, raised the question of WhatsApp messages sent on February 25 to DCP, Bandra by Sushant’s brother-in-law O P Singh, who is himself a senior IPS officer. In the messages, Sushant’s brother-in-law alleged that the actor’s life was in danger. According to Mumbai Police, the then DCP told Singh that a written complaint was required for any inquiry and action, but O P Singh wanted this to be resolved informally. He was told that this was not possible. 

The Bihar DGP said that in matters of life and death, even an e-mail, a phone call, or a WhatsApp message is acceptable for police to take action and save a life, but nothing was done by Mumbai police. He said the manner in which Patna city SP was quarantined clearly showed that Mumbai Police wants to obstruct a fair and impartial probe. “I only want justice for Sushant”, said the Bihar DGP during the interview. 

The DGP revealed how Patna City SP reached Mumbai by flight, and despite formal request sent earlier for his accommodation, Mumbai Police did not make any arrangement. He said, the SP, through his personal contacts made his own arrangement. In the evening, when Mumbai police rang up Patna Police about where the officer was staying, they were given the address, and soon thereafter, BMC officials reached the spot and put him under quarantine till August 15.

If Mumbai Police claim that the probe is moving towards the right direction, then why are so many questions being raised? 

I personally believe, the questions raised by Bihar Police are genuine and must be addressed. Four Patna Police investigators earlier came to Mumbai and started their own probe, but the BMC did not put them under quarantine, but when an IPS officer reaches Mumbai to lead the investigation, he is quarantined at 11 pm in the night. So many people land in Mumbai by flight, are all of them quarantined? What justification was there to put an IPS officer under quarantine at 11 pm?

This is no more a tussle between the police force of two states. The remark by Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday was loaded with political overtones. He compared Mumbai Police with Scotland Yard, and in an oblique hint at Bihar Police, recited a Raaj Kumar dialogue “jinke apney ghar sheeshey ke hon, who doosron par patthar nahin phenka kartey” (those who live in glass houses must not throw stones at others).

Clearly, Sanjay Raut’s comment on Bihar Police was part of political design. The death case of a renowned actor could have been solved professionally by the police of both states, but now it is taking political overtones. This must be shunned. Shiv Sena leaders believe, since assembly elections are due in Bihar, Nitish Kumar is trying to make an issue out of it by sending his police to probe an incident that took place in Mumbai. On the other hand, leaders from Bihar feel that Mumbai Police is insulting and misbehaving with Bihar Police, in order to shield some powerful people. 

I have spoken to several experts. All of them were of the view that the tussle between Bihar and Maharashtra will indirectly help those who are presently under the lens of investigators. If the police of both states do not cooperate, it will be difficult to unravel the mystery behind Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

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