In a snub to the Mumbai Police, the Supreme Court on Wednesday closed all options for them to continue the probe or register a criminal case in future in connection with the unnatural death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Ordering a CBI probe into the matter, Justice Hrishikesh Roy said, “While according approval for the ongoing CBI investigation, if any other case is registered on the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and the surrounding circumstances of his unnatural death, the CBI is directed to investigate the new case as well.”
The top court noted that in the present case, the Mumbai Police has attempted to stretch the purview of Section 174 without drawing up any FIR and therefore, as it appears, no investigation pursuant to commission of a cognizable offence is being carried out by the Mumbai Police.
“They are yet to register an FIR. Nor they have made a suitable determination, in terms of Section 175(2) of the CrPC. Therefore, it is pre-emptive and premature to hold that a parallel investigation is being carried out by the Mumbai Police,” observed Justice Roy.
He added that in case of a future possibility of cognizance being taken by two courts in different jurisdictions, the issue could be resolved under Section 186 of CrPC and other applicable laws.
“No opinion is therefore expressed on a future contingency and the issue is left open to be decided, if needed, in accordance with the law,” said Justice Roy.
The top court observed that the FIR filed in Patna was subsequently transferred to the CBI with the consent of the Bihar government during the pendency of Rhea Chakraborty’s transfer petition seeking transfer of the Sushant Singh Rajput case from Patna to Mumbai.
However, in future, if commission of cognizable offence under Section 175(2) of CrPC is determined, the possibility of parallel investigation by the Mumbai Police cannot be ruled out, the top court noted.
“Section 6 of the DSPE Act, 1946, read with Section 5 prescribe the requirement of consent from the state government, before entrustment of investigation to the CBI. As the CBI has already registered a case and commenced investigation at the instance of the Bihar government, uncertainty and confusion must be avoided in the event of Mumbai Police also deciding to simultaneously investigate the cognizable offence, based on their finding in the inquiry proceeding,” said Justice Roy.
He added that therefore, it would be appropriate to decide at this stage itself as to who should conduct the investigation on all the attending circumstances relating to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
“This issue becomes relevant only if another FIR is registered on the same issue at Mumbai. A decision by this court on the point would confer legitimacy to the investigation,” Justice Roy added.
Invoking the powers conferred by Article 142 of the Constitution, the top court directed the CBI to investigate the new case as well.