Actress Rhea and accomplices facing ED probe with CBI moving into actor’s death probe
By Venkatesh Raghavan*
Mumbai: The Sushant Singh Rajput case heated up on several counts with actress Rhea Chakraborty making a surprise compliance with Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials. She along with her brother Showik Chakraborty appeared at the ED office Mumbai, in the morning hours. This happened after the ED quashed the actress’s plea that her petition in the Supreme Court is still under scrutiny, requesting deferment of the summons till such time the apex court delivers its verdict.
The legal angle that suggested why Rhea and her team of lawyers made this move threw light on the procedure followed by ED. After serving summons thrice, in the event the actress fails to respond, the ED can move court and obtain an arrest warrant. The legal team headed by advocate Satish Maneshinde informed the media that the actress was law abiding and had decided to appear before the ED post her request being quashed, as she believed in following the law of the land. Rhea’s CA Ritesh Shah was also summoned later in the day.
The ED which is probing the financial angle to the Sushant Singh Rajput case, based on the FIR filed with the Patna police by the actor’s father KK Singh alleging siphoning of funds to the tune of Rs 15 crore will be looking into the actress’ acquisition of two properties in addition to the financial transactions that were made by the two companies that were floated. The companies were said to be jointly owned by her along with Sushant and her brother. Even after four hours of intense interrogation, it was reported that the actress responded to queries regarding her property documents, post repeated interrogation, by stating that she was unable to recall where she had placed the documents. The ED had sought the documents from her two days back.
Sushant’s friend Sidharth Pithani has also been summoned by the ED on August 8. Shruti Modi, Sushant’s former business manager also appeared before the ED. According to ED sources, Rhea’s brother Showik Chakraborty’s bank statement proves that there was direct transfer of funds from Sushant Singh Rajput’s account into his account. At the time of going to press it was heard from ED sources that the actress maintained that she was unable to recall the sequence of events, in response to most questions posed to her.
ED sources, disclosing the scope of the inquiry elaborated that the actress will be quizzed about her relationship with Sushant, and the financial dealing that she was involved in with the actor during the course of their relationship under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Questions related to Rhea’s income, investments, business deals and professional transactions fall under the gamut of this Act. Currently the enforcement agency is probing the source of purchase and ownership of a property in the city’s western suburbs of Khar. It was learnt from ED sources that Rhea’s name was linked with the property.
Sources also said that the ED had specifically posed to her on how her father’s address was the same as her company’s; how did she manage to fund the purchase of her properties besides in what capacity did the actress and her brother figure in the company.
Meanwhile, CBI has taken over the role, as the investigations into the actor’s death probe and had sought directives from the Supreme Court for cooperation from the Mumbai police. As per reports pouring in on the suicide death case, the probe will be instituted by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) stewarded by Superintendent of Police Nupur Shashidar. DIG Gagandeep Gambhir and Joint Director Manoj Sashidhar will supervise the investigations of the SIT.
*The writer is a senior journalist