The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the unnatural death of Sushant Singh Rajput. The SC has asked the Mumbai Police to hand over all the evidence they have collected in connection the case so far to the CBI.
Observing that the FIR registered at Patna on the complaint filed by Rajput’s father was correct, the SC said that the CBI will be competent to probe not only the Patna FIR but any other FIR related to Rajput death case.
The apex court justified the actions taken by the Bihar police in the case as the Mumbai police had not only failed to register an FIR in the case but had also failed to conduct investigations relatable to the allegations in the complaint.
“The records of the case produced before this Court, does not prima facie suggest any wrong doing by the Mumbai Police. However, their obstruction to the Bihar police team at Mumbai could have been avoided since it gave rise to suspicion on the bonafide of their inquiry”, the SC said, observing that Mumbai Police were conducting only a limited inquiry into the cause of unnatural death, under Section 174 CrPC.
It observed that complainant and Bihar Government had claimed that the Mumbai police, even during the limited inquiry under Section 174 CrPC, were attempting to shield the real culprits under political pressure, a claim which it said was “stoutly refuted by the State of Maharashtra”.
Cites Aranab Goswami Vs Sonia Gandhi row
Citing Arnab Goswami vs Sonia Gandhi row, the SC said that the one factor which justified CBI intervention in the case is the “public confidence in the impartial working of the state agencies”. It observed that in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, the alleged political interference against both states has the potential of discrediting the investigation, therefore in order to lend credibility to the investigation, it is desirable to hand over the case to CBI, said the apex court.
It observed that “in Mumbai, no FIR has been registered yet nor has the Mumbai Police considered the matter under Section175 (2) CrPC, suspecting commission of a cognizable offence nor proceeded for registration of FIR under Section154 or referred the matter under Section157 CrPC, to the nearest magistrate having jurisdiction”.
It said that the Mumbai Police have attempted to stretch the purview of Section 174 without drawing up any FIR and therefore, as it appears, no investigation pursuant to the commission of a cognizable offence is being carried out by the Mumbai police.
They (Mumbai police) are yet to register an FIR. Nor they have made a suitable determination, in terms of Section 175(2) CrPC. Therefore, it is pre-emptive and premature to hold that a parallel investigation is being carried out by the Mumbai Police, read the SC judgement.
The court ensured that there was no confusion about CBI being the sole authority to probe the mystery behind Rajput’s death and that no other state police could interfere with it.
Earlier, the Bihar government had referred the Patna FIR in the actor’s death case to the CBI, leading the Centre to ask the investigating agency to take up the case. However, Maharashtra government had opposed the Centre’s decision to hand over the case to CBI and said the Patna FIR should be transferred to Mumbai police in whose jurisdiction the incident happened. Mumbai police are yet to register an FIR and have continued their inquiry in the Sushant Singh Rajput’s case under an accidental death report.