Even as there is much hullabaloo in political circles and social media over the demand for a CBI probe in the Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case, the law is clear that the Centre cannot order a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation in any case without the consent of the concerned state government. The Maharashtra government can still block the CBI probe announced by the Centre on its own on Wednesday into the June 24 death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput (34) in Mumbai on the Bihar government's request.
This was perhaps the reason why the single-judge Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy, in its 4-page order on Wednesday adjourning further hearing to August 18, did not take cognizance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's submission that the Centre has decided to order a CBI probe, except to take on record that the Solicitor General "submits that, in principle, the Authorities have decided to accept the request of the Bihar Police authorities (for a CBI probe)."
The news agencies were briefed that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has notified an order authorising the CBI to take over the probe, but this writer could not trace it till writing this report on the official website of the Gazette of India among 21 other orders notified on August 5. Nor does the CBI website carry any such order to take over the investigations from the Mumbai Police.
The Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, under which the CBI operates, has a clear provision under Section 6, which reads as under:
"Consent of State Government to exercise of powers and jurisdiction.—Nothing contained in section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in [a State, not being a Union territory or railway area], without the consent of the Government of that State."
The court order records submission of senior advocate Shyam Devan on behalf of petitioner actress Rhea Chakraborty that the Patna Police had registered a case at the instance of Krishna Kishore Singh, father of deceased actor, "without any jurisdiction" and adds: "Similar submission is made by Mr R Basant, learned senior counsel appearing for the state of Maharashtra. He projects that the Bandra Police authorities are conducting a professional investigation and he be given time to place on record the stage and nature of the investigation, conducted so far."
The order says: "The State of Maharashtra should apprise the Court on the stage of investigation by the Mumbai Police by the next date."