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Opinion | Sushant case: A feisty DGP, the CBI and Shiv Sena’s worry

With the Supreme Court ordering a CBI probe into the mysterious death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the stage is now set for the nation’s premier investigation agency to begin its probe. The single-judge bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy invoked Article 142 of the Constitution to hand over the probe to CBI, thus ending a bitter tussle between Mumbai Police and Bihar Police.   In my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Wednesday night, I did a live interview with Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey and asked him why he was taking personal interest in this case. His reply was simple: “Sushant was ‘Bihar ka beta’. Not only 12 crore people of Bihar, but people from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Bengal to Gujarat were emotional over the death of their actor.”   The state police chief narrated how he went to meet Sushant’s father Kamal Kishore Singh the day after the actor’s death to convey condolence on behalf of Bihar chief minister. “The 74 year old man was completely heart broken. He was only saying ‘I have lost everything’. I feared whether the father may not commit suicide like Sushant. The next day I rang up Mumbai Police commissioner, but he did not take my call. I sent message to him requesting him to probe, but he did not respond. It was then that I began suspecting.”   My next question was, why as state police chief he had suspicions about Rhea Chakraborty. Pandey replied: “Rhea is facing the needle of suspicion because of her own behaviour. In the beginning, she tweeted to the Union Home Minister seeking a CBI probe, but when we requested the CBI to probe, she opposed and said she had faith in the probe by Mumbai Police.”   I asked the Bihar DGP whether CBI will succeed in unravelling the mystery 66 days after the actor’s death. His reply was: “To be honest, it is a difficult job. If the local police does not cooperate, then it will be a big challenge for CBI. Since it is a professional agency having the best of officers, I believe they will succeed in unravelling the truth from somewhere.”   When I pointed out that Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde in a statement on Tuesday had levelled allegations  against Sushant’s sister, the Bihar Police chief says: “I will request Rhea not to take this course. I don’t know who is advising her. She will face more trouble if she makes such allegations through social media. She is not a suspect, she is the named accused. She must fight the legal battle in court in a legal manner and cooperate with CBI. Nobody is going to listen to her allegations outside.”   I asked Pandey whether he had seen any such case like Sushant’s death in his entire career. He replied: “In my 34 -year-long career, I handled several cases of massacre in Naxalite-infested districts as SP, but I never saw a case with so many twists, turns and mysteries. I am ‘janata ka DGP’. I come from a family of farmers, a family where I was the first to pass Matric, BA and then joined the police. During Holi and Diwali every year, people from nearby slums come to celebrate the festivals with me. I have full faith in CBI.”   No doubt, the Bihar police chief is a no-nonsense officer who does not minces his words when he speaks. He never tries to obfuscate and conceal facts. He often becomes emotional, but his emotions does not come in the way he functions as a police chief.  It is a fact that he was taking personal interest in this case from the beginning and had promised to give justice to Sushant’s family. He was naturally elated after the Supreme Court gave its verdict.  Some people suspect that the DGP is indulging in politics, but his manner of  speaking without any compunctions must not be taken as part of any political gambit.   Handing over the probe to CBI was essential because people had started suspecting the role of Mumbai Police. The manner in which Mumbai Police declared the actor’s death as suicide in a hurry, the non-filing of FIR till date, the questionable manner in which Mumbai Police tried to stop Bihar Police from investigating, the midnight quarantine of an IPS officer from Bihar – all these indicated towards some sort of pressure being put on Mumbai Police, known for its professionalism.   Had the Bihar Police not registered an FIR, had it not sent its police to Mumbai to investigate, Mumbai Police would, by now, have closed this case declaring it as a suicide. People had started suspecting that Mumbai Police was trying to shield Rhea Chakraborty. Questions were raised whether any politician was trying to protect the culprits.  In a way, the CBI probe has come as a welcome relief for Mumbai Police, because people would  still have suspected if it had resumed investigation properly.     On politicizing this issue, I want to make one thing clear. All politicians know that there are too much emotions over Sushant’s death and people want to know the truth. Politicians who are saying that this issue must not be politicized, are themselves trying to grind their political axe. Whether it is BJP, or JD(U), or Congress, or Shiv Sena or NCP, all these parties are playing politics over this case of an actor’s death.   Politicians like Narayan Rane and Nitesh Rane openly named Aditya Thackeray in this case, with Nitesh Rane even tweeting “Ab  Baby Penguin Toh Giyo !”. Since Aditya Thackeray is a minister, and the Chief Minister’s son, he had to give clarifications and Mumbai Police’s role is being viewed from this prism.  When Maharashtra government opposed handing over the probe to CBI, BJP and JD(U) took advantage and made it an issue of Bihar’s prestige. Shiv Sena is worried because Aditya Thackeray is the chief minister’s son, and the party does not want his image to be dented. Shiv Sena is not worried at all about BJP or JD(U) taking advantage in Bihar. It is worried over how to handle the matter when CBI summons Aditya Thackeray for questioning in this case.

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