A political slugfest has broken out between the ruling Shiv Sena and the opposing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
In his weekly column in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, its executive editor and Rajya Sabha Member of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut has claimed that the actor was not murdered. Stating that Rajput was depressed, Raut questioned what the police was trying to deduce through its probe.
However, the BJP has accused the Shiv Sena of trying to pressurise Mumbai Police and influence the investigation into his death.
Saamna's editor is Rashmi Thackeray, the wife of Shiv Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
In his column, Raut scoffed at the demand by BJP MP Rupa Ganguly, who had said that Rajput’s death was not a suicide but a murder and had called for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.
“What is it that is yet to come to light in the Sushant case that police are still investigating? The actor had been in self-imposed exile for a while. He was not in the best frame of mind,” inquired Raut, adding, Rajput had died by suicide out of frustration. However, this death burst the bubble of 'mafiosi' and 'dynasties' in the music and cinema sector.
Raut also lamented that while there was focus on Rajput’s suicide, distress suicides by those who had lost their jobs in the corona-induced lockdown were not getting media coverage. Pointing to carpet-bombing coverage of the actor’s case in the media, Raut called this a “form of perversion”.
He said Rajput’s death was not a murder as was being claimed, and asked why some women and industry stakeholders related to him were being questioned by the police for 11 hours a day, despite him not leaving behind a suicide note. He also questioned why the investigators were seeking details of an agreement signed between the actor and a leading production house.
“Mumbai Police is probing the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. On the other hand, Saamna, which has the Chief Minister’s wife as the editor, raises questions about the inquiry and asks the police why it is conducting the probe for days. When a newspaper, which has links to the Chief Minister’s home, raises suspicion on Mumbai Police and puts them under pressure, it is a clear message asking the investigation agency to put the lid on the issue sans any investigations. Why is this newspaper trying to pressurise Mumbai Police?” asked BJP MLA and spokesperson Ram Kadam.
When contacted, Raut said, “It is their (BJP’s) right to express an opinion on everything. Let them exercise this right.”