Former Attorney General and one of India's top legal minds, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi set the record straight on the 'conflicting' investigations carried out by the Mumbai Police and the Bihar Police in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case which is now under the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) ambit.
Speaking exclusively to Republic TV, Rohatgi, who represented the Bihar government in the Supreme Court on a crucial August 5 hearing over the case, said that there is no reason to call the probes by Mumbai and Bihar Police 'conflicting' since the former was investigating the cause of Sushant's death which in legal terms is called 'Inquest' while the latter was acting on an FIR filed by the actor's family which alleged foul play.
"When I saw the papers, I felt the Bihar government was right in registering the FIR by the victim's family. They live in Patna and therefore, it was rightly registered. As far as Mumbai is concerned, Mumbai is merely investigating the cause of death which in legal terms is called 'Inquest'. They are not investigating any criminality or any criminal antecedents attached to the case or the role of any person which may have prompted that suicide. That is not being examined by Mumbai Police, it is being examined by Bihar Police," Mukul Rohatgi said.
"So it is completely wrong for anyone, including the petitioner to say that there is a conflict of interest. There is no conflict. I feel there is a very unsavoury angle to this case," the Senior Advocate added.
Recalling the Maharashtra government's counsel's arguments in the court, Rohatgi said it felt like the government was representing Rhea Chakraborty in her plea to the apex court, seeking transfer of the Patna FIR, lodged against her in connection with Sushant's death, to Mumbai.
"The petitioner's (Rhea) lawyer hardly spoke. It was the Maharashtra counsel who was arguing that everything is all right with their investigation. I found that to be astounding. A state government has to realise that it has to take a neutral position," said the former AG.
Mukul Rohatgi also lambasted the Mumbai Police and the city's civic body for its "very unprofessional" conduct in the handling of the case, especially the move to 'quarantine' a senior Bihar cop who arrived there to probe a case on Rhea Chakraborty.
"I believe there is a very unsavoury angle to this case. The Mumbai Police and the civic body have acted very unprofessionally. Have you ever heard of an IPS officer going from one state for legitimate and legal work to another state and he is locked up? You call it a 'quarantine' but it is locking up of a senior IPS officer. I have never heard of this," said the Senior Advocate.
The former Attorney General observed that if such incidents go on, it will cause serious damage to the federal system.
"If this is to go on, the federal polity of the State, the co-existence of States in the Union, will not function smoothly. It is a ridiculous proposition for the Maharashtra Police to say that they are doing a professional job. It is most unprofessional and equally so is the stand of the BMC," he said.
On August, the single-judge SC bench ordered Maharasthra government and police to put on record all details pertaining to the probe on Rajput's death within 3 days, while hearing actor Rhea Chakraborty's plea seeking the case to be transferred from Bihar to Mumbai. The Court also refused to grant protection for Rhea from any coercive action with the matter slated to be heard next week. The CBI has received Bihar government's proposal of a probe in the case and the Centre has issued a notification as well.