The Bombay High Court has deferred till Friday the hearing on two Public Interest Litigations seeking a CBI probe into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice A S Gadkari adjourned the hearing on Wednesday after the Maharashtra government submitted that it had not been served copies of the two PILs.
The bench was hearing two pleas, one filed by Nagpur resident Sameet Thakkar, and another by Priyanka Tibrewal, a lawyer practising in the Calcutta High Court.
Rajput, 34, was found hanging at his apartment in suburban Bandra on June 14.
Thakkar's plea, filed through his lawyer Raspal Singh Renu, sought that the court issue orders to either constitute a Special Investigation Team, or transfer the probe in Rajput's death to the Central Bureau of Investigation, or to any other probe agency outside the city of Mumbai.
In his plea, Thakkar alleged that the Bandra police, currently probing the case, were "deliberately delaying" the probe, and "wiping off evidence" at the behest of some powerful people from the film industry and politicians.
Tibrewal in her plea sought that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CBI be constituted to probe the case. She also sought that the Bombay High Court monitor such CBI probe.
"The sudden death of a very successful person has created ripples in the minds of the public at large about intricacies of nepotism prevalent in the film industry," Tibrewal's plea said.
"The incident has national and international ramifications to such a grave extent that an order for constituting an SIT of the CBI is necessary for ensuring transparency and justice," it said.
Tibrewal claimed in her plea that Mumbai Police "created a narrative of suicide" in Rajput's case without adequate probe. She also claimed that the police allowed pictures of the actor's body to be "leaked".
Such conduct raises many questions on the Mumbai Police and their probe in the case so far, she said.
Her plea also cited the case of actor Jiah Khan's death in 2013. The Bombay High Court transferred the probe in the case to the CBI in 2014.
Tibrewal's plea claimed that by then, most evidence in the case had been "destroyed", and urged the court not to delay transfer of the probe in Rajput's death.
She told the high court on Wednesday that the case of Rajput's death was sensational in nature and there were "a lot of unanswered questions" in it.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for the state government, however, told the bench that there was "nothing sensational" in the case.
"It is just being made sensational," he said, adding that the state had not received copies of the either of the pleas.
Hence, the bench directed the petitioners to serve copies to all parties concerned and adjourned the hearing to Friday.
After Rajput's death, the Mumbai Police had registered an Accidental Death Report (ADR) and an investigation is underway in the case.
An FIR has been registered in Patna on the complaint of Rajput's father K K Singh against the late actor's girlfriend and budding actress Rhea Chakraborty and others.