The Sena Government has taken the court order to CBI Investigation as a personal loss of face
The Supreme Court has done justice to the family of Sushant Singh Rajput by ordering a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the mysterious death of the actor. The court’s order is a slap on the face of the Mumbai Police, the Maharashtra Government and their apologists who had vehemently opposed the CBI’s involvement in the issue.
From day one, the Mumbai Police conducted a sloppy inquiry into the case, and as a consequence, it could not even file a first information report (FIR) even two months after the tragic incident occurred. It is difficult to believe that the Mumbai Police, which is considered as one of the most efficient police forces in the country, has done commendable work in investigating various high-profile cases including terror attacks on the city, should have suddenly lost its bearing. Left to itself, it would certainly have done a better job.
Amazingly, though, she found support from the top brass of the Shiv Sena, with Aaditya Thackeray’s name being floated in connection with the issue.
But it was apparently not left to itself, and that explains its failure. The conduct of the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Government and the Shiv Sena’s senior leaders offered enough indication of not just bias but also interference in the police’s functioning. Take the fact that the stand taken by Sushant’s former girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and that of the Shiv Sena has been eerily similar. And then study it in relation to the Mumbai police’s kid-glove treatment of Rhea.
Rhea is a non-entity in the entertainment industry. Her only claim to being a public figure is her relationship with the talented actor whose life ended so abruptly — a relationship that is now under the lens with accusations that she not just took over his life but also dominated his decision-making and sought to create fissures between him and his family members. Amazingly, though, she found support from the top brass of the Shiv Sena, with Aaditya Thackeray’s name being floated in connection with the issue.
All by herself, she could not have had access to the top-notch legal team which fought her case in the apex court. There was somebody out there, somebody influential, who helped in the process. Not just that, the position of Rhea’s legal team also matched that of the government’s and the Shiv Sena’s. While a senior Sena leader warned Sushant’s family members against speaking out on the case, he forgets to offer a similar directive to Rhea, who had not only been maligning the family but also selectively releasing communication Sushant and she had exchanged in the past. And, like Rhea, the Shiv Sena leader too passed unsavory comments on the deceased’s family.
The list of mistakes the Mumbai Police made in pursuing the case is too long to be enumerated here. The scene of the incident was not sealed; all sorts of people were allowed to enter the flat where the death happened; important evidence was not collected; the right people were not interrogated… it is just not possible for the police personnel to ignore the basics unless they had been instructed to go in a particular direction. The shocking manner in which the Mumbai Police treated senior officials of the Bihar police, who had gone to Mumbai to probe after Sushant’s father had lodged an FIR in Patna, cannot have been possible without directives from the political leadership.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the CBI to probe the case does not consist of greenhorns. The CBI has the powers and the ability to dig out material long buried, and in any part of the country.
The Shiv Sena-led Government was not content with blocking a CBI investigation. It tried to turn the matter into a Bihar versus Maharashtra issue. It linked the former’s police action to the forthcoming Assembly elections in Bihar. For the Sena, Sushant Singh Rajput became just a Bihar figure, and any probe into his death by someone other than the Mumbai Police was an affront to Maharashtra. This is an old tactic of the Sena.
Had the Maharashtra Government been indeed serious about getting to the truth, it would have itself recommended a CBI probe a long time ago. It could have argued that it was recommending an inquiry by the CBI as a respect to the sentiments of the dead actor’s family members and that its opinion did not necessarily cast aspersions on the Mumbai Police. It could have also argued that, since the matter had turned into one of a battle of jurisdiction between Bihar and Maharashtra, the best solution would be to have a third party do the investigation. Further, it could have demanded that the probe be conducted under the Supreme Court’s supervision.
The question then arises: Why was the Maharashtra government unwilling for a CBI inquiry? There is obviously something that it believes must remain hidden. We don’t know if there is a deeper, secret nexus between the Shiva Sena and Rhea. We also don’t know if there are people in the entertainment industry who played a role in the tragic incident — people who wish to remain unknown, and who have connections with the government in power.
Now that the court has spoken, the CBI has its work cut out. Precious time has been lost, and there are fears that crucial evidence has either been already destroyed or could be destroyed in the coming hours before the CBI team gets its hands on it. Since the Sena Government has taken the court order as a personal loss of face, it could go to any extent to sabotage the investigation.
However, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the CBI to probe the case does not consist of greenhorns. The CBI has the powers and the ability to dig out material long buried, and in any part of the country. It only needs a free hand, and there is no reason to believe that it will not get it. Besides, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) too is investigating the money angle. It is unlikely that the truth can remain hidden for long, despite the best efforts of promoters of falsehood.
And yet, there is an apprehension. Recall the Aarushi Talwar case. The teenager had been brutally done to death in her home, and to date, nobody has been conclusively convicted. Nobody knows for sure who killed her, and it’s now 12 years of the tragedy. The CBI had taken over the case, and its team had named Aarushi’s father Rajesh Talwar as the prime suspect. But it did not press charges for lack of evidence, and later recommended closure of the case. A special CBI court did not agree, and Aarushi’s parents were charged with murder and convicted. Later, however, the Allahabad High Court acquitted them for lack of evidence — and the murder case remains unresolved to date.
One would not want a repeat of that fiasco in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.