Justice Hrishikesh Roy asks all parties to give a two-page written note by 13 August with the apex court likely to pass an order then
By Our Correspondent
Rhea Chakraborty’s petition in the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the FIR against her in Bihar to Patna came for hearing for the second time. After listening to all parties, the Supreme Court has reserved its order and asked all parties to submit a two-page written note by Thursday [13 August] The apex court could pass a final verdict on Chakraborty’s petition then.
A single bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy presided over Chakraborty’s petition for the second times in less than a week. Much of arguments put forth by the respective parties turned the hearing into a Bihar v/s Maharashtra battle. The State of Bihar and its police defending their right to purse a parallel investigation into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, while the State of Maharashtra and its police, insisting that the Bihar police has no jurisdiction over the case.
Chakraborty’s legal counsel Shyam Divan began the arguments citing how his client was a victim of [news] media and is being trolled. Divan claimed that Bihar police has no jurisdiction in the matter and it only acted on the political pressure piled on by the Bihar Chief Minister. “Patna police was hesitant to file FIR, but Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and leader Sanjay Jha insisted on registering this FIR and to probe the case in Bihar,” said Divan.
Arguing more strongly on behalf of the State of Maharashtra, senior advocate and Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi felt that federalism was being subverted in this case
“Absolute lack of jurisdiction by Bihar police. Very weird and remarkable basis of claiming jurisdiction by Bihar needs to be shown. This case shows how federalism is being subverted,” alleged Singhvi.
The seasoned lawyer didn’t hesitate in saying that the Bihar police was only acting under pressure from the ruling party in Bihar.
“There is no complaint to Maharashtra police till now. Not a single one… If somebody wants to stretch it then what can we do? We all know that why the State where there is an election soon (Bihar) is doing like this. After the election you will not hear of this case,” pointed out Singhvi.
Appearing for Bihar Police Sr. Advocate Maninder Singh claimed that what the Bihar police did was in complete accordance with law., “Bihar police’s FIR is the only FIR in the case. There is a complete lapse of investigation on part of Mumbai police. The allegation is against political class in Maharashtra which has stopped even the registering of and FIR. A senior officer of Bihar police was put in detention”
Maninder Singh cited Section 178 CrPC to say that at the stage of investigation his power of territorial jurisdiction cannot be challenged.
“FIR in Bihar was registered on basis of legality because some authority has to investigate and not social media. We had to do doodh ka doodh Paani ka paani. There was no investigation that was being done. Nitish Kumar did not intervene here at all,” argued Maninder Singh.
Justice Roy reminded Chakraborty’s counsel that the actress herself had called for a CBI probe.
“In your petition you have also sought a CBI probe in the case. How they come into the picture is different, but you want it or not? ,” Justice Roy asked Chakraborty’s counsel.
Chakraborty’s counsel replied that his client wanted a fair probe from a fair investigating agency. “The correct course will be that the matter goes to Mumbai police and if CBI comes into the picture it will (come only) then. But FIR lodged in some other State without jurisdiction cannot lead to the CBI probe”, quipped Divan.
Commenting on the argument to transfer the case to CBI, Singhvi said, “This case has wider repercussions and its started from List II to basic structure doctrine. Let us not boast that Bihar police is the best one. This is a new law that investigation has to be over by June 25. Without a finding of perversity how can the case go to CBI?”
Countering Singhvi on the jurisdiction issue, Sr. Advocate Vikas Singh, the Rajput family lawyer stated, “Lawyers saying that Criminal Procedure Code is murdered but no one has read the Code. In the Asaram Bapu case, the girl was travelling from Rajasthan to UP. Then FIR was registered in Delhi which states that nothing happened in Delhi and thus being sent to UP.. that’s zero FIR.”
Meanwhile, Vikas Singh subtly hinted that perhaps Rajput could have been murdered. He says, “Father and sister of Sushant Singh Rajput were alienated. Father repeatedly wanted to talk to Sushant but Rhea did not reply. She had already distanced the sister. Look at the mark on his neck its a belt mark not a rope! If he was murdered it needs to be investigated.”
Maninder Singh, Bihar police’s counsel later slammed the action of the Maharashtra government, it’s police for sending Bihar IPS officer Vinay Tiwari on quarantine. Maninder also requested the Supreme Court that if the Sushant Singh Rajput case is transferred to CBI then it needs to ensure that no such things happens to CBI officers.
Representing the Union of India, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was critical of the probe by Mumbai police. “The exercise that Mumbai police is undergoing is without an FIR. No report of the inquest has been filed before the district or sub-divisional magistrate. A basic report on apparent causes of death showing bruises, marks, wounds, or fractures should be before Magistrate,” said Mehta.
The arguments continued over who has the jurisdiction – Mumbai or Bihar?. In a stunning comment, Vikas Singh didn’t hesitate in saying that the ruling Shiv Sena party in Maharashtra has been guilty of ostracizing Biharis in the past. “Shiv Sena is infamous for its brutality on Biharis,” alleged Vikas Singh.
After listening to all parties, the bench reserved its verdict and asked them to file a two-page written note and submit it by Thursday.
Rajput was found dead in his Mumbai home on 14 June. Nearly, two months on, the Mumbai police has spoken to over 50 people but thus no FIR has been filed. Bihar police swung into action after Rajput’s father K.K Singh had filed a FIR in Patna on 25 July. Singh has accused Chakraborty and her family of abetting his son’s suicide.