The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday (August 11) questioned actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s friend and roommate Siddharth Pithani, business manager Shruti Modi, and elder sister Meetu Singh in connection with a money laundering case linked to his death.
While Pithani and Modi arrived at the office of the central probe agency in the Ballard Estate area around 11 am in response to their scheduled summons, Meetu Singh reached a little after 1 pm. She was escorted by women officials of the Mumbai Police to the ED office, thronged by scores of media personnel since questioning in the case began last week.
This is the first time that a member of Rajput’s family is appearing before the ED. Rajput has four sisters. Both Pithani and Modi were questioned by the agency on Monday (August 10) and their statements were recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Modi was questioned last week as well.
Pithani, an IT professional, had told various news channels that he was present in the Bandra flat on June 14 when the 34-year-old actor allegedly hanged himself.
Pithani, who Rajput called Buddha, was stated to be living with the actor for about a year.
He had earlier recorded his statement with the Mumbai Police as part of its accidental death report (ADR) probe in the case.
On Monday, the ED questioned actor Rhea Chakraborty, the prime accused in the case, for about nine hours. The 28-year-old has been questioned for around 18-19 hours till now.
Her father Indrajit Chakraborty and brother Showik have also been questioned for various lengths of time earlier. Rhea and her family are expected to be called in for questioning again.
A friend of Rajput to whom officials said a payment has been made from the actor’s account may also be called in. The ED has earlier questioned the chartered accountants (CAs) of Rhea and Rajput and the deceased actor’s house manager Samuel Miranda.
The agency is understood to have asked Rhea – who had stated in her petition to the Supreme Court that she was in a live-in relationship with Rajput – about her friendship with him, business dealings and developments between them over the last few years.
The ED’s line of questioning, officials said, revolves around Rhea’s income, investments, business and professional deals, and links. Also under the ED’s scanner are two properties linked to Rhea, one in the city’s Khar area and the other in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, for their source of purchase and ownership.
Agency sources have said they “want more answers” from Rhea over the alleged mismatch between her income, expenditure and investments. They said Rhea has filed Income Tax Returns stating an income of about Rs 18 lakh in the recent past but the value of her investments is reportedly higher.
Her father, they said, is a retired defence personnel who gets a pension of around Rs 1 lakh per month. The sources said Rhea told the agency that she had made the property investments from her income, savings and has also taken bank loans.
Rhea has been accused by Rajput’s father of abetting his sons suicide. She had initially refused to appear before the agency citing her appeal pending before the Supreme Court that is slated to be heard on Tuesday.
Her lawyer Satish Maneshinde had said Rhea is a law-abiding citizen and will cooperate with the probe. She has filed a petition in the apex court requesting that the case lodged by Bihar Police against her be transferred to Mumbai Police.
Rhea, through her lawyer, shared a picture of a note on Saturday which she claimed was written by Rajput to express his gratitude towards her and her family. She also shared a photograph of a water sipper, part of the movie merchandise from Rajput’s 2019 film Chhichhore. “The only property of Sushant that I possess,” she said in a message sent along with the photo to the media.
The ED, during its questioning, is learnt to have confronted Rhea, Showik and Modi with bank statements that purportedly show the transfer of small amounts into Showik’s accounts from those of Rajput and Chakraborty.
On July 25, Rajput’s 74-year-old father K K Singh, who lives in Patna, filed a complaint with police in Patna against Rhea, her parents (including mother Sandhya Chakraborty), Showik, Rajput’s manager Miranda, Modi and unknown persons accusing them of cheating and abetting his son’s suicide.
The CBI had re-registered this FIR as a fresh case on Thursday and named the same people as accused. Singh also alleged financial irregularities. In the complaint, Singh alleged that an amount of Rs 15 crore was siphoned off from Rajput’s bank account in one year to accounts of persons not known or connected to the late actor.
The ED is also looking into at least two companies linked to Rajput and some financial deals involving Rhea, her father and Showik, who are stated to be directors in these companies.
Ramesh Taurani spoke to Sushant day before his death, says cant deduce persons feelings on call
Meanwhile, Producer Ramesh Taurani on Tuesday revealed that he and filmmaker Nikkhil Advani, spoke to actor Sushant Singh Rajput a day before his death, to discuss a film.
Taurani took to Instagram and wrote that he spoke to the Chhichhore star on June 13 around 2:15 PM over a conference call, where Advani and the actors manager were also looped in. “After exchanging pleasantries, Nikkhil Advani and I had narrated a story idea to Sushant. And yes, we were on a conference call with him and his manager Uday…
“I’m not aware as to how you can deduce anything about a persons feeling over a professional phone call,” the producer wrote.
Taurani, head honcho of the production house Tips, said the call lasted approximately 15 minutes. The producer said the team was in “preliminary talks” after Rajput “liked the idea.”
Taurani, who has backed films like the Race franchise and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, appealed to people to stop speculating regarding the actor’s death. “Instead of encouraging wrongful theories about the industry and about his associations, I am requesting everyone to have faith in the system and let the authorities do the needful.
“And request everyone to stop calling as we need to refrain from commenting any further on this unbelievable and tragic loss. I sincerely hope he is resting in peace. Thank you,” he added.