CBI or Mumbai Police? SC keeps up the suspense on investigation of SSR death
CBI or Mumbai Police? SC keeps up the suspense on investigation of SSR death

The Supreme Court kept up the suspense on who should probe actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death -- the CBI or the Mumbai Police -- by reserving the order after two hours of hearing.

(The actor was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his Bandra apartment).

The single-judge Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy gave a day's time till Wednesday to the Centre, Maharashtra and Bihar governments, actress Rhea Chakraborty and the late actor’s father to file written notes on their submissions.

Wednesday being a holiday on account of Janmashtami, they have time till Thursday morning to do the needful.

The judge was hearing a petition of Rhea Chakraborty, seeking transfer of investigation initiated in Patna on the basis of FIR lodged by Rajput’s father, to Mumbai police.

However, since then the investigation in Patna FIR has been taken over by the CBI.

During the hearing, the Mumbai Police raised the issue of jurisdiction while the Bihar government and Sushant’s father alleged bias on part of the former, contending that there is a strong case for an independent probe by a central agency.

Hammering the point of jurisdiction which gave Mumbai police the right to investigate the case, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Maharashtra government, said, “You may have screaming headlines, screaming anchors, comments from everywhere but that does not change the law. The court should look at the law. It's not about Mumbai police and Bihar police. It's about federalism and jurisdiction.”

Referring to Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which mandates prior consent of the State government for CBI to take over the investigation of a case, Singhvi said, “The only exception to state consent is if and when the Supreme Court comes to a conclusion that there are "extraordinary circumstances," as then alone it (Supreme Court) can transfer an investigation to the CBI.”

Dealing with the aspect of territorial jurisdiction, senior counsel Maninder Singh, appearing for the Bihar government, said: “It cannot be said that Bihar does not have territorial jurisdiction to investigate the case.” His logic was that "when it is uncertain where exactly the offence was committed, the issue of territorial jurisdiction does not arise and moreover proceedings of investigation cannot be challenged on grounds of territorial jurisdiction.”

He alleged that Mumbai police may be under political pressure. “Political pressure is being exerted in Maharashtra and not in Bihar. The Mumbai police is not cooperating. What are they hiding in this case,” Singh asked, referring to media reports about the name of Maharashtra Chief Minister’s son. ‘‘There is a serious political clout at work due to which the FIR has not been filed in Mumbai till now.”

Referring to the arguments both by Maharashtra and Bihar governments, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said they only make a “strong case” for investigation by an independent central agency.

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Free Press Journal