Mumbai: The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Wednesday received a major setback as the Supreme Court has allowed CBI to probe Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death case. The state government had strongly opposed the transfer of SSR case to CBI questioning its jurisdiction. Besides, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Transport Minister Anil Parab and a slew of MVA leaders including Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant had objected to the CBI inquiry saying that Mumbai Police is investigating the case very professionally. Deshmukh last week had, however, clarified that he will follow the verdict of the Supreme Court in the matter.
The apex court ruled that jurisdiction of Mumbai Police conducting a probe under Section 174 of Criminal Procedure Code (enquiry on suicide) is limited. The Supreme Court also said if any other case is registered regarding SSR death, the same shall be probed by CBI only. The apex court pronounced its judgement on Rhea Chakraborty's transfer petition, and has also declined the Maharashtra Government's move to seek liberty to appeal against the order.
BJP has been quite vocal since beginning demanding a CBI probe. They had alleged foul play in the probe currently being done by the Mumbai Police. In a scathing comment, BJP legislator Ashish Shelar in a tweet said, "Hidden hands misleading police investigation will be exposed. Jail time for Pub and Party gang who enjoyed illegally while 15000 plus Mumbaikars died in lockdown.''
BJP will make every effort to politically corner Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son and Minister of Tourism Aaditya Thackeray in the run up to the Bihar assembly elections. BJP has got a missile to use against Thackerays in a bid to regain sympathy of the North Indians especially those from Bihar ahead of assembly elections.
A BJP legislator, who did not want to be identified, told Free Press Journal, ''Since beginning the party has exposed Shiv Sena's agenda to save somebody in the SSR case. A CBI probe was necessary and it will help to reveal the truth. Besides, BJP has not forgotten the manner in which Thackeray ditched the alliance and joined hands with NCP and Congress to gain power after assembly elections held last year. Thackeray has used the opportunity to humiliate BJP since he assumed the office in November last year. BJP will obviously step up efforts to corner Thackeray and his son in connection with the SSR case.''
It was BJP legislators including Atul Bhatkhalkar and Amit Satam who had allegedly pointed fingers at Aaditya for his links in the case. It was immediately retorted by Shiv Sena and party leaders including Anil Parab and Arvind Sawant.
Incidentally, BJP's move to target Thackerays and the MVA government coincided with the party's move to assign a key role to former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in the ensuing Bihar assembly election. As reported by Free Press Journal, Fadnavis is likely to be appointed as the assembly election management chief.
Interestingly, the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's son Parth Pawar through a letter to Deshmukh had demanded a CBI probe into the SSR case going completely against the NCP line. Subsequently, Parth was reprimanded in public by his grandfather and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. After the apex court's order Parth in a tweet said ''Satyamev Jayate.''
Earlier, the State Government in its affidavit filed on August 9 in the apex court had submitted that the jurisdiction of CBI is confined only to the union territories for investigation of offences notified under section 3 of Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946. The CBI cannot move without the consent of the state government. CBI derives jurisdiction only when valid consent thereof is given as the law and order being a state subject,’’ the state government said.
‘’It is only the state of Maharashtra which is competent to give consent under section 6 of DSPE Act for transferring the investigation to the CBI because the cause of action has arisen solely and completely within the state of Maharashtra alone,’’ it added.
Further, the state government had also argued that the action of Bihar police in not transferring the FIR into Sushant Singh Rajput death and continuing with the simultaneous inquiry into the offences alleged in the FIR was totally malafide and violated the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. An investigation by two different state police into the same incident, which has occurred within one state will lead to a ‘’chaotic situation’’ as the investigation of one state police may interfere with the investigation of another state police. The registration of the FIR in Bihar was politically motivated and due to extraneous reasons.
The state government further said the Bihar government did not have any legal sanctity to recommend transfer of the investigation into the said FIR to the CBI. FIR ought to be transferred as a Zero FIR to the Bandra police station. Further it is submitted that a fair, proper, professional and impartial investigation has been and also will be conducted by the Mumbai police in this case.