By Venkatesh Raghavan*
Mumbai: Amidst high drama on television channels and social media platforms that discussed the Mumbai police’s reported bid to stonewall the efforts of senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer from Bihar, Vinay Tiwari (Superintendent of Police, Patna), Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pitched in and assured that Bihar State Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey will hold talks with the Maharashtra police on the issue of forcible quarantining of Tiwari by civic officials in the evening hours. It was reported from the home state that Tiwari was in Mumbai to investigate the Sushant Singh Rajput alleged suicide case and had priorly intimated the city police about his visit.
Bihar DGP Pandey asserted that Tiwari was not on any secret visit. “He had provided prior intimation of his planning to stay in IPS mess on arriving at Mumbai. The quarantining by civic officials was unwarranted going by the guidelines the Maharashtra government has furnished.” He further said, the Patna police will correspond with the civic officials in Mumbai to settle the issue amicably. However, Pandey conceded that after his telephonic communication with the Mumbai police about Tiwari’s proposed visit, he was met with the response “Bihar police lacks the jurisdiction to investigate the case in Mumbai.” Bihar DGP refrained from commenting further on the topic, pointing out that it was for the Supreme Court to take a call on it.
The civic body officials from BMC explained that it was the procedure to be followed as per guidelines on arrivals at Mumbai airport. Setting to rest allegations and theories in sections of the electronic media, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh denied that any politician or political party had involvement in the actor’s alleged suicide case. He also denied contention from certain quarters that there was a party held at Sushant’s house on June 13.
Sharing information on their earlier investigations, the police said, they were able to trace the Google searches Sushant had made a few hours prior to his death. Two of the searches pertained to the name of his ex-manager Disha Sallian who had committed suicide on June 8, jumping from the 14th floor of her building, and his own name. The earlier search was about “Painless death”. The police also sounded the theory that the actor might be bogged with fears about his name being linked to Disha Salian’s suicide death, based on the information they were able to gain from the actor’s mobile and laptop.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, at a media briefing summarizing the police team’s effort, said, “The actor had been suffering from bipolar disorder and was under medication for remedying it. The crux of our investigation at this stage is what were the circumstances that led to his death.” Responding to queries on Rhea Chakraborty, Sushant’s girlfriend, Singh said, “She was called to the police station several times and her statements have already been recorded twice.” He further clarified on the money laundering aspect saying the police ascertained that there was no direct transfer of money from Sushant’s bank account to Rhea’s. “Sushant’s account was justify with a balance of Rs. 4.5 crore and earlier, he had a sum of Rs. 18 crores”, he said.
To the Bihar police bid to investigate the mental harassment and financial fraud allegedly committed by Rhea, Singh countered the media bytes, pointing out, “Sushant’s father, sister and brother-in-law during the recording of their statement on June 16 had not voiced any suspicion.”
*The writer is a senior journalist