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Cautious HC won't rush into hearing pleas to transfer probe

11:37 PM Aug 07, 2020 | Narsi Benwal

Observing that the courts ought to be cautious while using its discretion to transfer probes, the Bombay High Court, on Friday, refused to 'rush' into hearing the pleas seeking transfer of the probe in the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The HC noted that the Supreme Court is already seized with a similar matter.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Ajay Gadkari was dealing with two PILs, seeking transfer of the investigations in the suicide case to the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) from the Mumbai Police.

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Addressing the bench, senior counsel Anil Singh, additional solicitor general, informed that the CBI has taken over the probe in the matter and has lodged an FIR in consonance to the one registered by the Patna Police on a complaint filed by Sushant's father accusing his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty of abetting the suicide of his son. He also questioned the approach of the Mumbai Police in quarantining an IPS officer of the Bihar cadre, who had come to Mumbai for the purpose of ascertaining facts, although four other officers of Bihar Police, who had earlier visited Mumbai were not meted out such treatment.

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"To unearth the truth, the state (Maharashtra) ought not to stand in the way of investigation by the CBI," ASG Singh submitted.

The ASG also stressed on the fact that dozens of cases have been transferred to the CBI from Maharashtra, such as the actress Jiah Khan suicide case and Dabhollkar-Pansare murder case. "Most of these cases are transferred to the CBI by judicial orders," ASG submitted.

Meanwhile, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni apprised the bench of the fact that the SC is already seized with a transfer petition filed by Rhea Chakraborty, who is the prime accused as per the FIR lodged by Sushant's father. The AG urged the bench to defer the hearing since the state is awaiting an order from the SC on the transfer petition.

Having heard the contentions, CJ Datta said, "The CBI has registered an FIR. We do not consider it appropriate, at this stage, to express our opinion either way. It would be just and proper to await the orders of the Supreme Court in the pending transfer petition."

"We are also aware of the settled position of law that courts must be cautious in exercising their discretionary powers to transfer a probe in the matter from one agency to another. These powers must be used sparingly," CJ Datta added.

The bench accordingly adjourned the matter till August 21.

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