Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is “willing” to recommend a CBI probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, a minister in his government told ThePrint Thursday morning.
The actor’s death has become a political issue in the poll-bound state, with various parties demanding a CBI inquiry.
Sources close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also told ThePrint that the state government is willing to recommend a CBI probe based on the complaint lodged by the actor’s father against actress Rhea Chakraborty in Patna.
“Now that an FIR has been lodged in this state, the Bihar government is within its right to recommend a CBI investigation,” the minister told ThePrint.
The actor died by suicide on 14 June.
Why Nitish favours a CBI probe
Sushant’s family, according to their lawyer Vikas Singh, has dissatisfied with the progress made by the Maharashtra Police in the case.
“The Maharashtra police is just going through formalities by calling big names of Bollywood and having them sit in the office. It is Khanapurti,” Singh told ThePrint. “The Maharashtra Police are yet to lodge a FIR. The FIR by Sushant Singh Rajput’s father, K.K. Singh, is the first criminal case to be lodged in this connection.”
Political parties in the state, however, have been demanding a CBI probe in the case.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan took the lead when he wrote to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar demanding a CBI investigation.
Since then, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, former MP and actor Shatrughan Sinha, actor Shekhar Suman and even the BJP have all called for the central agency to take over the case.
Amid this clamour, Nitish and his JD(U) had been subdued. While the chief minister did send his condolences to the family, his party has done nothing much since.
Now it appears that the JD(U) does not want to be seen doing nothing about a death that has rocked the state.
Bihar cops land up in Mumbai
Within days of Sushant’s father filing an FIR on 25 July, a Bihar police team landed up in Mumbai where it allegedly did not receive cooperation from the Maharashtra Police.
The team did, however, record the statement of Sushant’s former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande and his sister.
“Do you think that the Bihar police would have reacted so fast without pressure from the top?” asked the JD(U) minister.
The ruling party is also taking into account the actor’s popularity in the poll-bound state.
Sushant Singh Rajput was an icon among the youth of Bihar, particularly the state’s Rajput and Bhumihar communities. Among the most vocal of the upper castes, the two communities have a decisive influence in at least 40 of the 243 assembly constituencies in Bihar.
With assembly elections barely three months away, the chief minister cannot afford to ignore their demands for a CBI probe.
The FIR lodged by Sushant Singh’s father K.K. Singh comes down heavily on the actor’s friend Rhea Chakraborty, who had herself tweeted to Home Minister Amit Shah asking for a CBI probe.
In the FIR, Chakraborty has been charged with abetment to suicide, with Sushant’s family alleging that he began facing psychological issues after she entered his life.
It also alleges that Rs 15 crore had been transferred out of Sushant’s bank account to people he was not associated with.
It further states that Sushant was seriously considering organic farming and was searching for land, when Chakraborty allegedly opposed it and threatened to make public the fact that he was undergoing treatment for mental stress, if he went through with his plans.
The FIR said that when Chakraborty left, she took cash, laptop, jewellery, his credit card pin number among others.
The family has also alleged that Chakraborty blocked their efforts to contact Sushant.
Chakraborty has moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the FIR against her from Patna to Mumbai.
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