New Delhi: The investigation into Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death has taken political colour not just in the actor’s home state Bihar, where assembly elections are due later this year, but also in Maharashtra.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Maharashtra have lashed out at Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government for asking Patna Superintendent of Police Vinay Tiwari, who arrived in Mumbai Sunday in connection with Rajput’s death probe, to be under home quarantine.
BJP’s Mumbai president Mangal Prabhat Lodha even led a delegation of party MLAs Monday to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to complain about the state government’s lack of cooperation with the Bihar Police.
The investigation has become a bone of contention between the Bihar Police and Mumbai Police, sparking a turf war.
The Bihar Police started its own investigation into the actor’s death last week after Rajput’s father K.K. Singh filed an FIR against the actor’s friend, Rhea Chakraborty, and her family members under various IPC sections, including abetment to suicide.
The Mumbai Police has already been investigating the case and has questioned more than 40 people, including filmmakers Mahesh Bhatt, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Aditya Chopra and film critic Rajeev Masand, among others.
A team from the Patna Police came to Mumbai last week to probe the case, but Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Home Shambhuraj Desai took offence, saying it did not follow the protocols.
Meanwhile, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s wife Amruta got into a war of words on Twitter with Shiv Sena leaders over the issue.
Political row over Rajput’s death
Former CM Fadnavis Monday tweeted, “Instead of solving the mystery of #SushantSinghRajput‘s death, such behaviour will only result into huge public outcry and disbelief amongst the people about the investigation.”
It is really very strange that why Maharashtra Government is coming under unnecessary suspicion by not allowing Bihar Police to perform their duties. #SushantSinghRajputCase
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 3, 2020
He said the government did not quarantine the medical team that visited Mumbai from Kerala or even the Uttar Pradesh Police team that came to investigate the Vikas Dubey case.
“A team from Bihar police is already working in Mumbai since 4 days but none of them were quarantined then why only an SP rank officer is treated differently?” Fadnavis said.
“It is really very strange that why Maharashtra government is coming under unnecessary suspicion by not allowing Bihar Police to perform their duties,” he added.
His wife, Amruta, tweeted, “The manner in which #SushantSinghRajputDeathCase is being handled — I feel #Mumbai has lost humanity & is no more safe to live — for innocent, self respecting citizens.”
Shiv Sena leaders, however, strongly reacted to her tweet, urging those criticising the Mumbai Police to give up their police cover.
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted: “I challenge these state BJP leaders & their political aspiration bearing family accusing @MumbaiPolice & defaming them, to give up their police security go for private agencies who can make them feel safe in the city. As wife of fmr CM who was also HM to speak this way is shameful.”
I challenge these state BJP leaders&their political aspiration bearing family accusing @MumbaiPolice&defaming them, to give up their police security go for private agencies who can make them feel safe in the city. As wife of fmr CM who was also HM to speak this way is shameful
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) August 3, 2020
Varun Sardesai, Yuva Sena secretary and one of Aaditya Thackeray’s close aides, said in a tweet, “Three months ago, when everyone was sitting at home and scared, it was our police who hit the roads for us.
“When the need comes you call for claps, thalis and diyas for them, and when the Bihar elections are around the corner you badmouth them? This is the height of lowly politics.”
BMC says following protocol
The Shiv Sena-led BMC in a statement Monday said it was just following protocol by asking the Bihar Police officer to be under home-quarantine. The civic body also said the officer has been briefed about the process to seek an exemption.
“Being a domestic air traveler, he needs to be guided for home quarantine as per the state government guidelines. Accordingly, the south ward team approached him at the guesthouse yesterday (Sunday) evening. Team explained to him the whole procedure for domestic air traveller, including home quarantine,” the BMC said.
“He has also been guided to apply to the competent authority of MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) for exemption in the home quarantine period as per the state government notification,” the civic body added.