The Bombay High Court on Friday said it cannot rush into hearing pleas seeking transfer of probe in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case to the CBI as the Supreme Court is seized of the matter as the Centre questioned the way the Maharashtra government was handling the case.
The CBI has already taken over probe into the ‘abetment to suicide’ case filed with the Bihar police by Rajput’s father. The Mumbai police are separately probing a case related to the death of Rajput (34), who was found hanging in his suburban Bandra apartment on June 14.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice A S Gadkari was hearing two petitions raising concerns over the manner in which the Mumbai police were investigating the case and the media reporting on it.
The pleas – one filed by Nagpur resident Sameet Thakkar, and another by Priyanka Tiberwal, a lawyer practicing in the Calcutta High Court sought the Bombay HC’s direction to the CBI to probe the case.
The bench also issued notices to two organisations dealing with the media.
“The Supreme Court is already seized of the matter and has also sought a status report from the Maharashtra government on the probe being conducted by the Mumbai police.
Hence, we cannot rush into hearing the pleas, Chief Justice Datta said.
Chief Justice Datta added that while hearing petitions seeking transfer of probes to the CBI, courts must be cautious and has to use its discretion (to transfer probe) sparingly.
The Mumbai police had registered an Accidental Death Report (ADR) case related to Rajput.
On July 25, Rajputs father K K Singh lodged a complaint with the Bihar police accusing his sons girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and her family members of abetting Rajputs suicide.
The HC was on Friday informed by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the central government, that the CBI has registered a case against Rhea Chakraborty and five others based on the complaint of Rajputs father.
The additional solicitor general, however, told the court that the manner in which the Maharashtra government was handling the matter was “questionable” and that it would be in every ones interest that the CBI takes over the case.
An IPS officer from Bihar who had come to Mumbai to supervise the probe was put in quarantine by the Maharashtra government.
“However, just a month back when some policemen had come to Maharashtra to arrest a few accused in the slain gangster Vikas Dubey case they were not asked to quarantine themselves, Singh told the court.
The court, however, noted that it does not find it appropriate to express any opinion at this stage when the Supreme Court is already seized of the matter.
We will hear these pleas on August 21. We are informed that the Supreme Court is expected to hear the matter (Rhea Chakrobortys plea) on August 18, the court said in its order.
After the Bihar police lodged the FIR, Rhea Chakraborty approached the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the case from Bihar to Mumbai and said that the Bihar police does not have the jurisdiction to probe the case.
The bench, while hearing another petition filed by an advocate seeking raising concerns over the manner in which media was reporting the Sushant death case, issued notices to the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters’ Association.
“It is an important matter,” Chief Justice Datta said and posted the petition for hearing on August 18.
The plea, filed by advocate Asim Sarode, said there are guidelines issued by the Press Council of India on how media should report cases pertaining to suicide of people due to mental health issues.