SC orders CBI probe in Sushant's death case: Mumbai police to hand over all evidence to CBI

The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave its nod to the ongoing CBI investigation in the death of Sushant Singh Rajput at his Bandra flat on June 14, directing the Mumbai Police to hand over all the evidence collected in the case. It dismissed the petition of actress Rhea Chakraborty, a live-in partner of Rajput until few days before his death, to transfer the investigation initiated on his father's FIR from Patna to Mumbai.

The single-judge Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy held the CBI probe to be "lawful" and ruled in a 35-page judgment that any fresh FIR in the matter will also be transferred to the CBI.The court further said that the inquiry being conducted by the Mumbai Police under Section 174 of the CrPC is not an investigation. Maharashtra's lawyer sought permission to challenge the verdict.

However, the judge said that it is now a court-ordered investigation. The judgement further states, "The records of the case produced before this court do not prima facie suggest any wrong doing by the Mumbai Police. However, their obstruction of the Bihar police team at Mumbai could have been avoided since it gave rise to suspicion about the bonafide of their inquiry.

''The Bench also said that the Bihar government was competent to ask for a CBI investigation in the case and the Patna police committed no illegality in registering the complaint. ''Looking at the nature of the allegations in the complaint, which also relate to misappropriation and breach of trust, the exercise of jurisdiction by the Bihar Police appears to be in order. At the stage of investigation, they were not required to transfer the FIR to Mumbai police," reads the judgement. The judge, however, made it clear that the conclusion and observations in his order are limited to disposal of Rhea's petition "and should have no bearing for any other purpose.

"The Centre needs the state's consent before transferring the case to the CBI but the apex court needs no such approval. So, the Bench has invoked powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to authorise the CBI probe, "to ensure public confidnce in the investigation and to do complete justice in the matter."Referring to the vicious allegations of political interference levelled against each other by Maharashtra and Bihar, which had brought the legitimacy of the investigation under a cloud, the judgment says these developments unfortunately have the propensity to delay and misdirect the investigation and, as such, "there is reasonable apprehension of truth being a casualty and justice becoming a victim."Noting that Sushant was a talented actor in the Mumbai film world who died before his full potential could be realised, the judgment said his family, friends and admirers are keenly waiting for the outcome of the investigation to put at rest all speculation that is doing the rounds."

A fair, competent and impartial investigation is the need of the hour. The expected outcome then would be a measure of justice for the complainant, who lost his only son," the judgement said.The judge stressed that the court also desires justice be done to Rhea Chakraborty as she had herself called for a CBI investigation. "The dissemination of the real facts through unbiased investigation would certainly result in justice for the innocents, who might be the target of vilification campaign," he said."Equally importantly, when integrity and credibility of the investigation is discernible, the trust, faith and confidence of the common man in the judicial process will resonate. When truth meets sunshine, justice will not prevail on the living alone but after Life’s fitful fever, now the departed will also sleep well. Satyameva Jayate."

Stressing that steps taken by the Mumbai police may not be faulted, the ruling says: "Considering the apprehension voiced by the stakeholders of unfair investigation, this court must strive to ensure that search for the truth is undertaken by an independent agency, not controlled by either of the two state governments."The judge underlined that he went for the CBI probe in view of "the conflict between the two state governments, who among the two is competent to investigate the case." His verdict adds that "as the CBI has already registered a case and commenced investigation at the instance of the Bihar government, uncertainty and confusion must be avoided in the event of Mumbai Police also deciding to simultaneously investigate the cognizable offence, based on their finding in the inquiry proceedings.

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