No legal sanctity to statements of witnesses collected by Maharashtra cops in Sushant case, Centre tells SC

Rajput was found hanging from the ceiling of his apartment in suburban Bandra in Mumbai on June 14

The Centre Thursday told the Supreme Court that statements of 56 witnesses collected by the Maharashtra Police in Sushant Singh Rajput death case ‘have no validity or legal sanctity’ as it is yet to register an FIR. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, in his written submissions sought apex court’s nod for investigation into the case by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.

“The Maharashtra Police in its affidavit has said that it has collected statements of 56 persons. In view of the admitted position that there is no FIR registered and the police officer is merely discharging functions under section 174, such statements have no validity or legal sanctity and are non-est,” the Centre said. It said the CBI has already registered an FIR while acceding to the request made by the Bihar government and the Enforcement Directorate, a central agency acting under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, is also investigating.

“In conclusion, it is therefore prayed that (i) It is desirable that a predicate offence is also investigated by the CBI which is a central agency; and this Court may not make any observations which might affect the investigation being conducted by the Enforcement Directorate which is not the subject matter of the present proceedings,” the Centre said.

The Centre filed its written submissions in the top court on the actress Rhea Chakraborty’s plea seeking transfer of the FIR lodged by Bihar government to Mumbai. Rajput, 34, was found hanging from the ceiling of his apartment in suburban Bandra in Mumbai on June 14 and since then Mumbai Police has been probing the case.

The FIR in Patna has been registered against Chakraborty and others for alleged offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 306 (abetment of suicide), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property).

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