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Sushant Singh Rajput Death Anniversary: 2 Years On, CBI Yet To File Charge Sheet

Here's a timeline of the events that transpired in the wake of Sushant Singh Rajput's death.

Updated
India
5 min read
Sushant Singh Rajput Death Anniversary: 2 Years On, CBI Yet To File Charge Sheet
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On 14 June 2020, Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, known for films such as Kedarnath, Kai Po Che, and MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, among others, was found dead at his Bandra residence in Mumbai.

While initial reports of investigation by the Mumbai Police stated that the actor died by suicide, Rajput's family in Bihar's Patna demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

There was round-the-clock, shrill coverage of the beloved actor's passing by mainstream media. And on social media platforms, hashtags such as #JusticeForSushant and #CBIForSSR went on to trend for months.

The case was finally transferred to the CBI on 19 August 2020. Two years on, the agency is yet to file a charge sheet.

On his second death anniversary, The Quint went back to the events that transpired in the wake of Rajput's death. How the celebrity who successfully made a leap from television to films amassed a much bigger fandom in his death – people who continue to demand "justice" for him.

Here's a timeline:

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The Initial Probe by Mumbai Police

Early investigations by the Mumbai Police concluded that Rajput died by suicide. The actor's autopsy, conducted at the Cooper Hospital in Mumbai, confirmed the cause of death as "asphyxia due to hanging."

In a written response to the Mumbai Police, Cooper Hospital doctors later also confirmed that the actor had died 10-12 hours before the post-mortem.

A day after his death, on 15 June, the actor's last rites were conducted at the Pawan Hans crematorium in Mumbai.

Subsequently, Rajput's brother-in-law OP Singh demanded a fair probe in the incident saying that he suspected "foul play." Singh, an IPS officer posted in Haryana, died in a road accident in Bihar on 17 November 2021.

In addition to Singh, Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, and Jan Adhikar Party Chief Pappu Yadav cast aspersions on the investigation by Mumbai Police.

"It is evident that Sushant knew some dirty secrets and that is why he has been killed," Ranaut claimed on Twitter, kick-starting a series of accusations against several Bollywood personalities on social media.

This led to a widespread demand for a CBI enquiry into the matter. Among those who raised the demand were BJP MP Roopa Ganguly, Rajput's father KK Singh, and Rajput's partner, and actor Rhea Chakraborty.

On 24 June, Rajput's post-mortem report was released which stated that "no struggle marks or external injuries" were found on the actor’s body.

As per the report, there were more prominent ligature marks towards the right side of Rajput's neck. "...(ligature marks) present around the neck at the level of thyroid-cartilage, passes obliquely upward, backward towards mastoid process on both sides," the report had said.

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This report was then studied by a panel of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), findings of which were submitted to the CBI in September 2020.

The War Over Case Jurisdiction

On 29 July 2020, Rajput's father registered an FIR at Patna’s Rajiv Nagar police station, accusing six people of abetment to suicide. The FIR named the actor's partner Rhea Chakraborty and her family members.

Rajput's father levelled several allegations against Chakraborty, including theft, blackmail, and abetment to suicide.

A case was lodged under various sections of the IPC, including 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 306 (abetment of suicide), and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy).

The same day, Chakraborty moved the Supreme Court demanding a transfer of investigation to Mumbai. The Bihar Police, however, arrived in Mumbai, triggering a jurisdictional battle between the two states.

While the Mumbai Police claimed it had the exclusive right to investigate the death since it occurred in Mumbai, the Bihar Police cited the FIR registered by Rajput's father to launch its own investigation.

A day after, on 30 July, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sought the details of the case from Bihar Police.

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Media Trial and SSR's Digital Afterlife

While investigations by the Mumbai Police, Patna Police, and the ED were underway, several television channels continued to broadcast wild, speculative, and unverified conspiracy theories.

Rhea Chakraborty, Rajput's partner since 2019, was vilified on national television. She was accused of murdering Rajput, drugging him, stealing his money, and practising black magic to keep him under her control.

TV reporters stood outside her house all day, harassed her family members, neighbours, building security guards, and even food delivery agents. Selective WhatsApp chats leaked by probe agencies were read out on live television without context.

On 10 August 2020, Chakraborty moved the Supreme Court alleging that media was pronouncing her guilty and was unfairly holding a trial of its own.

The Bombay High Court on 18 January 2021 said that media trial during the investigation of any case impacts the probe and violates programme code under the Cable TV Network Regulation Act.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni passed this ruling on pleas filed by activists, lawyers, and NGOs, seeking restraining orders against "media trial" in the case.

Around the same time, an army of social media warriors, kept the actor in news even weeks and months after his death. Hashtags such as #JusticeForSSR, #ArrestRhea #CBIForSSR are among the top trends on social media platforms till date.

These social media users circulated wild conspiracy theories around the actor's death. These include linking his death with that of his manager – Disha Salian – or how several Bollywood actors and directors conspired to kill Rajput.

Salian, Rajput's manager, had died on 9 June, a week before the actor's death. While investigation by Mumbai Police found that Salian died by suicide and there was no evidence of foul play, several social media accounts and politicians, including BJP's Narayan Rane, hinted at a "political conspiracy" behind her death.

Rane, in fact, went on to allege that he was in possession of a pen drive and an eyewitness account which could prove that Disha Salian was "gang-raped and murdered." He also stated that the son of a minister was allegedly involved in the case.

Salian's parents later filed a defamation case against the minister.

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CBI Takes Over

After the Union government accepted Bihar government's recommendation for a CBI enquiry into the case on 5 August 2020, the agency named Chakraborty, her father Indrajit, mother Sandhya, brother Showik, Rajput's house manager Samuel Miranda, and Shruti Modi, Rajput's former manager.

On 31 July, the ED registered a money laundering case against Chakraborty and her family members under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The NCB on 4 September 2020 arrested Chakraborty's brother, following which he was sent to judicial custody. Four days later, on 8 September, the NCB arrested Chakraborty too.

A total of 15 people, including the Chakraborty siblings, were arrested in September by the NCB over allegations of arranging drugs for Rajput.

Chakraborty was granted bail 28 days later, on 8 October 2020, when the Bombay High Court in its bail order observed that she was "not a member of a drug syndicate."

"Since she has no criminal antecedents. There are reasonable grounds for believing that she is not likely to commit any offence while on bail," the high court order said.

After probing several A-list Bollywood celebrities, including Arjun Rampal, Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, and Rakulpreet Singh, the NCB on 5 March 2021 filed a 12,000 page charge sheet in the case.

As of 8 April 2022, the CBI in response to an RTI had stated that the case is still under investigation and details of the same cannot be made public.

The agency has not filed a charge sheet yet.

(The Quint reached out to CBI officials multiple times for an update on the status of investigation. This copy will be updated when we hear from them.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Edited By :Tejas Harad
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