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‘How Do They Sleep?’: Former Top Cop Slams Media Over Sushant Case

Former Mumbai police chief Julio Ribeiro slams the politically motivated probe and the hounding of Rhea Chakraborty.

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It’s been a year since the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, and investigating agencies including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have probed various tangents related to his alleged suicide, alleged drug abuse, and the alleged misappropriation of funds by Rhea Chakraborty. However, none of the probes have reached any specific conclusion.

While the demand for #JusticeforSSR gained social and political momentum in the months following his death, the conviction by media trial of Rhea Chakraborty shook the nation.

Former Mumbai police chief Julio Ribeiro, in a conversation with The Quint, said that the reason none of the agencies have found out much yet is that because it was an obvious case of suicide.

“One person I feel really sorry for is that girl, the Chakraborty girl, Rhea. I think she has gone through hell for the simple fact that she was his lover. She really felt for him and she really cared for him, that is what I could see,” he said.

“The first powers that be, which wanted to cloud the whole scenario that she had stolen, that she had misappropriated money. They made inquiries, the ED got involved in that. They found that there was nothing like that and the suspicion of the family was not true,” he added.

‘Unfair the Way Media Hounded Rhea’

Slamming the way the actor’s death was covered by the media, Ribeiro said that the media channels unfairly targeted Chakraborty and showed no remorse.

“I think it's very unfair that they should have hounded that girl. Some of the media channels were very, very cruel. And I don't know how they can sleep at night when they have managed to know that this girl has been hounded and put in prison. Finally, the Narcotics Control Bureau, which also was put in there, everybody was energised and sent here to Mumbai,” he said.

“She could have really screwed his money. It was not difficult for her to do that. But she did nothing of that sort. But I don't know why we have not been repentant about it. None of the media channels that pilloried her have shown any remorse. I presume they only look at their TRPs,” he added.

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“I felt sorry for him and I felt more sorry for Rhea Chakraborty because finally, she was the one on whom they vented their ire and they put her in prison,” Ribeiro said.

‘Case Politically Motivated to Target Maharashtra Govt and Bihar Polls’

Reflecting upon why and how the case became of national interest, Ribeiro said that the central agencies were brought into the picture keeping in mind the need to target the Maharashtra government and the aim to garner extra votes in the Bihar Assembly elections.

“They first thought it was a good idea to take it up to target the Aghadi government, the three-party government here in Maharashtra, and they perhaps felt that they could pick on the young Thackeray because he seems to have sometimes visited this gentleman (Sushant),” he said.

“The BJP and Mr Fadnavis (former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis), who incidentally I was quite fond of without knowing him at all except for reading about him, felt that it was a good opportunity. And the Bihar elections were going to take place in a few months from then and they thought it would make a difference to the election results if they kept this issue boiling,” he added.

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‘How Could Bihar Police Think It Could Take Over Probe in Mumbai?’

Slamming the Bihar police, he said that he had never heard of an incident where a case filed in another city over a crime was not transferred to the city where the crime took place.

“It was never, in my knowledge, such a thing has never happened before. This is a new thing that has happened that an offence takes place in Mumbai, an offence is registered there that has happened. But then normally, the offence is transferred. The case is transferred to the place where the scene of offence is. That did not happen here. They arrived here and they expected to take over the case; I have never heard a thing like that. Even the Bihar police have been totally suborned,” he said.

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‘All the Cases Need to Be Shut’

Commenting on what needs to be done next in the probes and all the related cases, Ribeiro said that “big agencies which are very sophisticated agencies, with sophisticated means at their disposal, shouldn’t waste their time on a thing like this.”

“I think that they should close all these cases and retire. Now unfortunately, the NCB which is supposed to loom at big drug dealers and big drug syndicates who supply these things are going after the users of the drugs. Users of drugs should be treated as patients. They are fit for medical attention,” he said.

Ribeiro further said that fulfilling political agendas by the ones in the police force tarnishes the image of the force.

“I am an old hand, I was recruited in the police force in 1953. I have seen the progress of this force, the progress of the Indian police service. I feel a little ashamed I can tell you, that we have come down to this and how officers can behave,” he concluded.

(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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