An affidavit before the Supreme Court has been filed by the Mumbai police Challenging the July 25 FIR filed in Patna, in the case of Sushant Singh Rajput’s Death Case filed by his father against actor Rhea Chakraborty and 5 others for abetment to suicide which was subsequently transferred to the CBI.
Backdrop of Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case
The affidavit expresses that the CBI ought not to have gone ahead and registered the case with it or constituted a team for conducting the investigation pending the present proceedings. It ought to have awaited the final decision of the present proceedings at the hands of the Supreme Court, especially in view of this court order passed on August 5.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court was informed by the Centre that in the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case, the Bihar Government’s recommendation for a CBI probe has been accepted.
Previously, a bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy refused to grant a stay in Chakraborty’s plea seeking transfer of an FIR filed against her from Patna to Mumbai and the stay on the investigation by the Bihar police. The bench sought an update from the State of Maharashtra on the Investigation done by Mumbai Police and granted 3 days to all parties to file a reply.
The Mumbai Police contended, “Suffice it to say that, the indecent haste with which the CBI has proceeded in this regard speaks for itself, regarding the bona fides of all involved in this exercise.”
The affidavit narrating the sequence of events expresses that Rajput passed away on 14 June at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai. The Mumbai police on receiving a telephone call visited the residence of the deceased and saw the body of the deceased lying on the bed. The sister of the deceased and four others were present at the said residence. The Mumbai police registered an accidental death report under section 174 of the CRPC and commenced inquiry about the unnatural death of the deceased. After the inquest was completed, the Mumbai police commenced the investigation under section 175 of the CRPC to ascertain the cause of death of the deceased.
The Affidavit by Mumbai Police in Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case
It was told, “During the course of investigation, the Mumbai police have till date, recorded statements of 56 persons and are investigating into the facts and circumstances leading to the death of the deceased from each and every angle. The Mumbai police are investigating the incident fairly, professionally, properly and impartially.”
The Mumbai police have argued that the investigation is still continuing and hence, it is in the interests of justice that the details of the investigation are not shared with Chakraborty or any other persons except this court.
Asserting that in compliance with the August 5 order, the report regarding the status of investigation into the said ADR has been filed in a sealed cover in this court, which is “self-explanatory.” and stressed “That the report has been filed in a sealed cover so that this court is able to satisfy itself about the fairness, impartiality as also the professionalism with which the said investigation is being conducted by the Mumbai police into the said ADR.”
Further, the affidavit contends that “About 38 days of the death of the deceased, the father of the deceased filed a complaint before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Patna, alleging offences under sections 341, 342, 380, 406, 420, 306, 506, and 120 B of the IPC and the Bihar police has registered an FIR against the petitioner and her family members, even though not only the death of the deceased but also each and every part of the cause and consequence relating to the said death has taken place at Mumbai, and in any case, in the state of Maharashtra”.
It is pointed out that under section 156(3) of the CRPC, the father was entitled to approach the chief judicial magistrate, Bandra, Mumbai, for an order directing investigation but even that was not done into the death of the deceased.
It is not the case that the Mumbai police had refused to register the FIR.
It is urged that despite being aware of the fact that the Mumbai police have been investigating the said ADR, Rajput’s father did not make any request to the Mumbai police regarding registering FIR against the petitioner and her family members or any ground whatsoever.
On the contrary, It is insisted that the statements recorded of all the close relatives of the deceased, including the father, as soon as possible after the said death, demonstrate that none of them had any suspicion about the suicide committed by the deceased or against anybody.
The affidavit reads, “It is most important to note that these are the statements recorded first in point of time, unlike the subsequent statements with numerous improvements that are apparently tainted with afterthought, to say the least.”
It is advanced that neither the judicial jurisdiction lay in the state of Bihar nor the investigative jurisdiction lay with the Bihar police. A perusal of the FIR that is now registered by the Bihar police shows that none of the alleged offences have been committed within the local limits of the police station, either by the petitioner or for that matter anybody else, and in the circumstances, the objection to the territorial jurisdiction can be raised at the pre-cognisance stage also.
The Mumbai police buttress its case that “The father of the deceased alleges that the deceased was not permitted to visit Patna and to meet him and his other family members. So even the alleged offence of wrongful restraint and confinement, if any, occurred in Mumbai. The father alleges that the petitioner stole or siphoned of money and valuables from the deceased. Thus, the alleged offence of theft, if any, occurred in Mumbai. The father further alleges that the petitioner cheated the deceased and committed criminal breach of trust. Even this alleged offence occurred in Mumbai. The father has also alleged that the petitioner has abetted the suicide of the deceased which also occurred in Mumbai.”
Arguments by the Mumbai Police in the Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case
Mumbai Police told, “Such a practice ought to be deprecated as anybody will approach the state police of his choice and register FIR at the police station of his choice and this will lead to disastrous consequences. Any accused will be able to have an offence investigated by the investigating authority of his choice, by getting FIR registered at any particular police station or by getting it transferred. Even the complainant and the accused cannot jointly and with mutual consent decide as to which police is to investigate the crime in issue.”
Even assuming that the FIR in issue is maintainable, it was mandatory for the Patna police to follow the procedure prescribed under the advisory issued by Ministry of home affairs dated 10 May 2013 and to register a zero FIR and transfer the same to the Bandra police Mumbai.
It also mentioned that, “On 27th July, four police officers from the Bihar police landed in Mumbai and commenced their own simultaneous enquiry. The information collected by the Bihar police was also revealed to the media despite the fact that such revelations would jeopardise the investigation being conducted by the Mumbai police into the said ADR. There cannot be two simultaneous enquiries, much less investigations, by two different agencies in respect of the same incident and as such simultaneous enquiry were to continue, it may result in conflicting results, apart from its adverse effects, it will ultimately end up in helping the suspect or accused, if any and if at all.”
The affidavit denies the suggestion that the quarantine of the Bihar IPS officer, Mr Vinay Tiwari, was aimed at obstructing the investigation by the Bihar police, because the step was taken by the Municipal Corporation for Greater Mumbai and not by the police authorities. It was also highlighted that the protocol by the state of Maharashtra for domestic passengers arriving at Mumbai airport requires that such passengers are to undergo 14 days home quarantine, the only exception being domestic passengers who intend to exit Mumbai within seven days of arrival provided they are able to produce a confirmed ticket for the onward/return journey.
The Mumbai Police averred that, “The newspaper report produced on record by the petitioner states that the Bihar police were hesitant for registration of the FIR but the CM of Bihar and another minister had persuaded them to register it. So it was a politically motivated exercise, one due to extraneous reasons.”
Submissions by the Mumbai Police in Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case
Submission were made that Section 177 of the CRPC provides that every offence shall ordinarily be enquired into and tried by a court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed, and that the provisions contained in section 178 to section 183 are exceptions to the general rule for enquiry and trial.
It was also contended that, “Not a single legally permissible and sustainable ground existed nor does it exist either for the registration of the FIR at Patna or for the transfer of such non-maintainable FIR to the CBI. The alleged sensitivity of the matter cannot be a ground for the registration of the FIR or investigation into the matter by the Bihar police or for that matter to be transferred to the CBI. The recommendation by the Addl. CJM, Patna to transfer the investigation into the FIR by the CBI bristles with mala fide and the same is void ab initio.”
Further, it was also submitted that the jurisdiction of CBI is confined only to union territories for investigation of offences notified under section 3 of the DSPE act and that it requires consent of the concerned state government under section 6 of the DSPE act.
Further the CBI requires a corresponding notification from the central government under section 5 of the DSPE act before taking up the investigation of a case outside the union territories.
The affidavit argued, “In other words, law and order being a state subject, the CBI derives jurisdiction only when valid consent is given. As the state of Maharashtra has not given any consent as provided under section 6 for transferring the investigation into the FIR to the CBI, the investigation into the FIR cannot be transferred to the CBI. In the facts and circumstances of the present case it is only the state of Maharashtra which is competent to give consent, the alleged cause of action having completely arisen within the state.”
Finally, It was urged that it is mandatory for the CBI to follow the procedure prescribed in the 10 May, 2013 advisory even after assuming that the CBI is entitled to register the FIR, and to transfer it to the Bandra police station if needed.