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Sunday, April 11, 2021

The politics behind Sushant Singh Rajput’s case: What we know

After two long and tumultuous months amid the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, now the responsibility is on the hands of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look for answers to the questions raised in the Sushant Singh Rajput case. On August 19, the Supreme Court handed over the probe to the CBI with the case taking its most dramatic turn. The trial by media on the 34-year-old actor’s death, the social media warriors who have billed his death as an outcome of the ‘movie mafia’ or the entire nepotism debate on how outsiders like Sushant never get their due has given an ugly turn to the entire case. Sushant’s family alleged foul play and immediately the spotlight shifted to his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and her family, against whom Sushant’s father filed an FIR accusing them of forcefully stealing Rs 15 crore from his son’s account and having abetted his suicide. All of this even has led to a political battle between the two states — Maharashtra and Bihar with their police machinery accusing each other of several wrongdoings. Some have even given the case a political colour by alleging that Bihar’s chief minister might have been trying to gain from this as the elections are knocking at the door. There are numerous questions unanswered, but what a lot of people are asking is whether the case is being made a political scapegoat? We obviously do not know the answer but let’s layout what is out in the open so far.

What’s the politics behind SSR’s case?

Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty alleged in her affidavit that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is “reported to be responsible for the registration of FIR in Patna” against her. She also claimed that the “sad incident” of Sushant’s death, unfortunately, occurred just in time before the Bihar elections and this led to the issue of suicide being isolated and “blown out of proportion in media”, causing extreme trauma to her and her family and even infringement of privacy of her rights due to the “constant sensationalisation” of this case.
The actress stated that she has been “convicted” by the media in the case even before any foul play has been established by the investigating agencies. “In case of death of Sushant Singh Rajput, Chief Minister of Bihar is reported to be responsible for the registration of FIR in Patna,” the affidavit claimed, adding, “The sad incident of the death of Sushant Singh Rajput who hailed from Bihar, unfortunately, occurred just in wake of elections in Bihar. This has led to the issue of suicide of the deceased being isolated and blown out of proportion.”
“The issue is blown out of proportion in media. Media channels are examining and cross-examining all the witnesses in the case. Petitioner (Chakraborty) is already convicted by media even before a foul play in the death of Sushant Singh Rajput is established,” it alleged, adding, “Petitioner urges before this court that she should be protected and not be made a scapegoat of political agendas”.

Did Rhea abet Sushant’s suicide as in the FIR?

After June 14, Mumbai Police clearly said it’s a plain and simple suicide case but it took an unexpected turn when the actor’s father K.K. Singh filed a police complaint on July 25 in Patna alleging his girlfriend of abetting suicide and draining out Rs 15 crore from Sushant’s bank account. The Patna police immediately filed an FIR against Rhea’s family members on the same day under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. On asking why Sushant’s father took over six weeks to file a complaint, their family lawyer said that he was forced to do so as he had ‘given up on the Mumbai police’. “We waited for them to take some action. But when we saw they were completely going in the wrong direction, we decided to file a complaint in Patna,” the lawyer said.
Vikas Singh, the family’s lawyer cited alleged inconsistencies in the Mumba police’s probe after Sushant’s death. The police had said that the actor climbed onto his bed to commit suicide, however, Singh argues that Sushant was six feet tall and he could have easily touched the fan if he stood on his bed. He explains further that when someone wants to hang themselves, they typically stand on a low stool or chair, slip the noose around their necks and then fling the stool/chair away from their feet below. Sushant would have had to be in an inclined position in order to hang himself, however, Singh states that then too he would have the support of the bed. Despite all of this explanation, Dr Harsh Sharma, Director, State Forensic Science Laboratory at Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, who is credited with investigating over 800 cases of death by suicide has said Singh’s claims do not have a base. He told a YouTube channel that once the noose is around the neck and connected to a point, irrespective of the person standing, sitting or even kneeling, the neck will get squeezed thus stopping all impulses to the brain and causing paralysis of the entire body. Similarly, there were no bruises or signs of abrasions in the actor’s body when found and apparently the half-opened eye was reminiscent of a typical suicide hanging.

Why can’t just mental health be a reason?

Despite Sushant’s psychiatrist revealing that he suffered from bipolar disorder, the idea that severe mental health issues led him to take such a drastic step has not been accepted by many. The actor’s family has themselves questioned the Mumbai police’s initial conclusion that he suffered from severe mental illness. Several netizens have even accused discrimination in the industry a reason for his mental torment and thus the resulting pressure to perform on the actor. It can be said that Sushant had a few major setbacks but that didn’t stop him from receiving offers. Mental health experts everywhere have also said that career setbacks might not be the only or predominant reason leading to severe mental illnesses. “There is no physical parameter one can look at and say one’s depressed. Just because you are depressed does not mean you cannot function,” says Mumbai-based psychologist Dr. Shraddha Sidhwani, according to India Today.

Not all of the aspects of the case make sense and that’s why maybe the CBI’s intervention was necessary. With the stepping in, the Mumbai police have to transfer all case-related material to the agency and they will have to investigate everything from scratch. Maybe finding all the answers to the questions will finally let Sushant rest in peace.


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