Parties of the case- Rhea Chakraborty is the Petitioner. Respondent No. 1 is the State of Bihar. Respondent No. 2 is the deceased father. Respondent No. 3 is State of Maharashtra. Respondent No. 4 is Union of India.
Statement of the case– The Petitioner’s learned counsel argued that the incidents alleged in the Complaint that was lodged by the father of the deceased have taken place entirely within the jurisdiction of State of Maharashtra and therefore, the Complaint, should have been forwarded to the jurisdictional police station at Bandra, Mumbai for conducting the investigation. The Petitioner is pleading for a transfer of petition from Bihar Police to Mumbai Police.
History- Sushant Singh Rajput, an actor was found deceased on 14th June 2020 at his Bandra residence. The Petitioner was a friend of the deceased and was in a live-in relationship with the actor. However, she moved back to her apartment on 8th June, 2020. The father of the deceased filed an FIR in Patna, thus falling under Bihar Jurisdiction. The father of the deceased had also filed for a CBI investigation for the same matter, which has been supported by the Petitioner. The Petitioner states that the jurisdiction falls under Mumbai Police [Bandra] and that Mumbai police is competent to lead the investigation. This petition is filed to appeal the court to shift the investigation to Mumbai Police and CBI. The counsel of the Petitioner also states that, despite want of jurisdiction, the Complaint was registered at Patna only because of political pressure brought upon the Bihar Police authorities.
Legal issues- 1] Is the Bihar Police permitted to investigate when the jurisdiction falls under Mumbai Police?
2] Can the FIR filed by the Bihar Police be accepted?
- The counsels for the Respondents submitted that the Petitioner disclosed a cognizable offence and therefore, it was incumbent on the Patna Police to register the FIR and proceed with the investigation. Since allegations of criminal breach of trust, cheating and defalcation of money from the account of the deceased are alleged, the consequences of the offence are projected to be within the jurisdiction of the State of Bihar. The Senior Counsel highlighted that the Mumbai Police was conducting the enquiry into the unnatural death of the actor and such proceeding being limited to ascertaining the cause of death, does not empower Mumbai Police to undertake any investigation, on the allegations in the Complaint of the Respondent No 2, without registration of an FIR at Mumbai. Referring to the non-cooperation and obstruction of the Maharashtra authorities to the SIT of Bihar Police which reached Mumbai on 27.07.2020 and the quarantined detention of the Superintendent of Police, Patna who had reached Mumbai on 08.2020, Senior Counsel argues that the Mumbai Police was trying to suppress the real facts and were not conducting a fair and professional inquiry. Since no investigation relatable to the allegations in the complaint was being conducted and FIR was not registered by the Mumbai Police, the action of the Bihar Police in registering the Complaint, is contended to be legally justified. On that basis, the Bihar Government’s consent for entrustment of the investigation to the CBI is submitted to satisfy the requirement of Section 6 of the DSPE Act. Besides, as the Petitioner herself called for a CBI investigation and as the CBI has since registered a case and commenced their investigation, (on the request of the State of Bihar), it is submitted that this transfer petition is infructuous.
- Projecting the agony of the deceased’s father, Vikas Singh, the learned Senior Counsel submits that the Complainant has lost his only son under suspicious circumstances and was naturally interested in a fair investigation to unravel the truth. The inquiry by the Mumbai Police under section 174 of the CrPC is not an investigation of the complainant’s allegations and therefore investigation into those allegations by the Bihar Police is contended to be justified. Since only an investigation (not a case or appeal) is pending at Patna, and a legally competent investigation has commenced, invocation of Section 406 power by this Court to transfer the investigation, is projected to be not merited. When misappropriation and criminal breach of trust is alleged in respect of the assets of the deceased actor and the concerned property relatable to the alleged offence will have to be accounted eventually to the Complainant (as a Class I legal heir of the deceased), the action of the Patna Police is contended to be within jurisdiction, under Section 179 read with Section 181(4) of the CrPC which speaks of consequences ensuing at another place, as a result of the alleged crime.
Holding- It is ordered by the Hon’ble Court to ensure public confidence in the investigation and to do complete justice in the matter. The Court considers it appropriate to invoke the powers conferred by Article 142 of the Constitution. Therefore, while according approval for the ongoing CBI investigation, if any other case is registered on the death of the actor Sushant Singh Rajput and the surrounding circumstances of his unnatural death, the CBI is directed to investigate the new case as well.
Reasoning- The judgement passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court simply stated that it feels the need to raise Article 142 of the Indian Constitution. Article 142 of the Constitution simply states that the Supreme Court has the power to pass an order or a decree for any necessary case for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it. Its further states that any FIR filed in the matter of unexpected death of the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput will be directed to the CBI and no other party or law body will be under jurisdiction.