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Opinion | Sushant death case: New twists and turns

Giving a fresh twist to Sushant death case, lawyer of Rhea Chakraborty obliquely alleged on Tuesday that Sushant’s sisters were trying to project the actor’s death as a case of murder in order to get insurance claim benefits. Allegations were made that Sushant’s sisters knew about the actor suffering from mental depression and were plotting to grab his properties.   Meanwhile, CBI continued to question Rhea’s parents for the second day on Wednesday. Enforcement Directorate had questioned Gaurav Arya about the drugs angle on Tuesday. A drug peddler told Narcotics Control Bureau that he knew Rhea’s brother Showik, who used to consume drugs. NCB director-general Rakesh Asthana is personally monitoring this drug angle probe.   On Tuesday, Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde in an interview asked: “If a person has a huge life insurance policy, will his death be declared a suicide or for some other reason to enjoy the benefits of the policy? Statements of the people residing in the house reveal that his family was continuously informed. Right from the time the door was opened to the time when instructions were given to knock out the door, to the time when they saw the body hanging; IPS O. P. Singh was giving instructions as well. His family knew everything. I assure you she (Rhea) left the house because Sushant had asked her to. Rhea is being maliciously accused by her family.”   Clearly, the lawyer is trying his best to defend his client, because Maneshinde made another allegation against Sushant’s sister obtaining a fake prescription for Sushant.   Maneshinde said, “The records say the family was aware of his medication as far back as November 29, 2019. There are exchange of messages between Shruti (Modi) and his family asking for prescriptions and medicines. It was revealed that on 8th of June, 2020, when Rhea left the house around 12:30, he was in touch with his sisters. Priyanka had sent the message asking about his health. Previously he had asked for the medicines from her. She sent a couple of names of medicines which he said he can’t get without a prescription. She procured the prescription from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and send it to him. This prescription is a bogus one. Sushant has been entered as an OPD patient. The medicines prescribed to him fell in the narcotics section. He was not in Delhi when this entry was found.”   The lawyer said, “They have provided prescriptions from a doctor who has not even examined him. How can you prescribe medicines to a new person without looking at the ongoing medication? Also, he is being shown as the outpatient in the department. Therefore, it is obvious, the story cooked by his family is fake.”   Maneshinde also mentioned about a quarrel between Sushant and his sisters at Waterstone resort on 25-26th November when all three sisters were present. He alleged that Sushant’s sisters wanted to take him away from Mumbai and grab his properties. According to the lawyer, Sushant came to know about this and he had a quarrel with his sisters.   Maneshinde says, Sushant had booked tickets with his sisters for Chandigarh, but after the quarrel he left to stay with Rhea for a month and cancelled his Chandigarh trip. Maneshinde claims that a staff member at the resort had overheard Sushant’s sisters talking among themselves how to grab his properties. The staff member informed Sushant about this and the actor cancelled his Chandigarh trip. Sushant’s family is yet to come out publicly to rebut this allegation.   On Tuesday, Sushant’s former manager Shruti Modi’s lawyer Ashok Saraogi alleged that Sushant’s sisters knew that the actor was taking drugs and was undergoing treatment. Sushant’s family members or their lawyers are yet to come out to rebut this allegation too.   In our prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Tuesday night we showed statements of Kushal Zaveri, who had acted with Sushant Singh Rajput in TV serials  since 2008. Both had acted for three years  in the serial ‘Pavitra Rishta’. Later Sushant left TV serials and worked in Bollywood. He asked Zaveri to work with him in films. Kushal Zaveri spoke extensively about his personal life to Bihar police investigators. Our Patna reporter Nitish Chandra accessed his detailed statement, and I have also gone through this statement. Two or three vital facts emerge.   One, Kushal told the investigators that Sushant was worried about his finances in December last year. He sought his bank statement from Shruti Modi, who in turn rang up Rhea, who immediately returned home and engaged Sushant in other talks and the bank statement was forgotten.   Two, Kushal revealed that in the beginning of 2018, there were nearly Rs 10 crore in Sushant’s bank account. The same year, Sushant donated Rs 2.25 crore for flood relief in Kerala and Nagaland. Sushant even visited flood-hit areas in Nagaland for two days. Kushal said, nearly Rs 8 crore was left in his account, but by the end of the year, he spent a lot on his pleasure trip to Thailand. Kushal revealed that despite huge expenses, Sushant was unperturbed. He used to say that he would earn more later.   Three, Kushal Zaveri revealed that on June 13, a day before he died, Sushant agreed to do two films for Ramesh Taurani on a video call. Kushal said, since big producers sign up for two films together, the deal was worth Rs 12-15 crore for the actor.   Zaveri also told Bihar police that on June 8, when Rhea left the house, Disha Salian committed suicide the same night. According to Zaveri, after Disha Salian’s suicide, Sushant became worried because news channels were running stories on Sushant’s ex-manager having committed suicide. Kushal said, Sushant used to frequently search Google on news relating to Disha Salian. According to him, Sushant asked Dipesh and Sidharth Pithani to contact Rhea, but they told him she had blocked his number.  Kushal disclosed that after his break-up with Rhea, Sushant came closer to his old friends during the last 15 days of his life. He had stopped taking medicines since March.   Let me put the case, as of now, in perspective. Sushant’s family had alleged that Rhea misappropriated Rs 15 crore from Sushant’s accounts and either plotted his murder or forced him to commit suicide. Sushant’s father made this allegation in his FIR before Patna police. But what was the motive behind Sushant’s murder or abetment to suicide? Why did Rhea did so? Nobody from Sushant’s family side could establish the motive.   On the other hand, Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde on Tuesday laid his cards on the table – the points on which he is going to argue the case in courts. He tried to bring a motive behind proving Sushant’s death as murder and not suicide. He said, collection of insurance claim could be one big reason. This is a serious allegation.   Secondly, Maneshinde said that Sushant’s family knew about his ailment, he was advised to take banned drugs without consulting a doctor. A fake prescription was procured from a Delhi government doctor without him examining the patient, sitting in Mumbai. This, in itself, is a crime.   Maneshinde insists that Rhea had an argument with Sushant on June 8 due to his sister,  and there was no quarrel between her and Sushant. The sequence of events between June 8 and June 14 now needs to be properly investigated. This will bring the truth behind Sushant’s death before the public. Both Maneshinde and Shruti Modi’s lawyer Ashok Saraogi are alleging that Sushant’s sisters wanted to grab his properties.   Experts say that the probe that the CBI conducted for the last 13 days has not yielded a single piece of evidence to show that Sushant was murdered. The present line of investigation by CBI sleuths is to find out why Sushant, all of a sudden, committed suicide? Did anybody prod him to commit suicide? Or, was his mental depression the reason behind suicide? It is also being probed whether narcotics played a part in Sushant’s death.     In course of investigation, the drug angle cropped up too often, but one good fallout has been that in the last few days the Narcotics Control Bureau had tightened its screws around drug peddlers in Mumbai and they have all gone underground. There has been a big haul of narcotics in Mumbai recently. There are reports that a big quantity of drugs was disposed of in sea. One should hope that the drug mafia in Mumbai will be eliminated as a fallout of Sushant death case.

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