A different twist has emerged in late Sushant Singh Rajput’s alleged suicide case, as the Bombay High Court has found “prima facie evidence” to suggest the actor’s sister, Priyanka Singh, had procured psychiatric drugs for her brother without doctor’s consultation and by using a forged prescription.
The bench of justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik have, therefore, ruled on Monday (February 15) that there should be “no impediment” to further probe the allegations against her.
“There is prima facie case found against petitioner no 1 ( Priyanka Singh). Therefore, there is no impediment on the Mumbai police investigation against her,” the HC noted. “This judgment shall not be of any impediment to the investigating officer to carry out investigation and submit a report,” it added.
The FIR filed by the Mumbai police on September 7, 2020, against Sushant’s sister Priyanka Singh and Dr Tarun Kumar of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, will “survive”, the court ordered. However, the complaint against Sushant’s other sister Meetu Singh in the same case was squashed.
On January 7, after the bench concluded hearing the plea against Rajput’s sisters and reserved its orders, Justice Shinde had made an oral observation that, “Whatever the case, one undisputed position is that from his (Rajput’s) face, one can make out that he was innocent and sober and very good human being. Even in MS Dhoni, everybody liked him, especially in that film.”
In her complaint on the basis of which the FIR was filed, actress Rhea Chakraborty had alleged that the sisters conspired with one Dr Tarun Kumar to obtain a forged prescription for administering banned medicines to their brother Sushant. She asked the Bandra Police to investigate if these medications, which come under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, had caused Sushant’s mental health to worsen and subsequently led to his death on June 14, 2020.
The sisters, meanwhile, claimed in their plea before the court that the FIR was lodged to “concoct a whole new story entirely different from the statements made” by Rhea before the Supreme Court (SC) and media platforms. They claimed that Rhea had made “contradictory statements” about the actor’s death. At first, she had claimed in a July 16 tweet that she was clueless what had driven Sushant to die by suicide and had even told the SC that she did not suspect anyone.
Later, however, Rhea accused them of negligence, the sisters said. Senior counsel Vikas Singh, who is representing the sisters argued that Rhea could not explain why there was a delay of ninety-one days in filing the FIR.
Advocate Satish Maneshinde said on Rhea’s behalf that after Rajput’s prescription was leaked on social media, the actress had realised the medicines were bought through these prescriptions. On realising that the medicines could have been a cause of his death, she immediately approached the police, said Maneshinde, justifying the delay in filing the FIR.
Further, on the allegations in Rhea’s complaint that Sushant’s sisters had bought banned medicines without proper prescription, the sisters said that this was a baseless allegation. These medicines could have been prescribed to Sushant during an online consultation and this was permitted by the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines, they said in their plea.
Moreover, the sisters pointed out that there was lack of evidence to show they had procured the medicines, which is a claim made by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in their affidavit filed in the court.
The CBI, which is also probing Rhea in connection with Sushant’s death case, called Rhea’s accusation of a fake medical prescription as “presumptive and speculative”. The CBI has also criticised the Mumbai police for lodging an FIR on the basis of a speculation.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai police opposing the plea said that they were “duty-bound” to register the FIR against Sushant’s sisters since Rhea’s complaint had contained prima facie “disclosed commission of offence.” This was in the form of a WhatsApp conversation between Sushant and his sisters on June 8, 2020, which showed that Priyanka had procured the prescription without consulting any doctor. No physician was consulted even online, pointed out senior counsel Devadatt Kamat.
The police, in fact, had evidence to prove that an unidentified person went to the OPD of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on June 8, 2020, took a token and later a prescription from the accused doctor.
It was further contended by Rhea’s counsel that her FIR has brought forth a different chain of events than what was being claimed by Rajput’s family. Those circumstances should be examined since it could give answers to the cause of the actor’s death.
Last year in October, a team of doctors from Delhi’s AIIMS had negated the poisoning theory, which had been put forth by Rajput’s family and others as the reason behind Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
Rajput was found dead on June 14, 2020, in his apartment in Bandra. Though the Mumbai police had initially, based on the autopsy report, said it was a suicide, social media campaigns for justice for the actor and allegations from the late actor’s family had raised doubts of poisoning.