The Centre on Wednesday gave its approval for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput on a recommendation by the Bihar government after which CBI officials said that the agency is all set to take up the probe into the alleged suicide of the actor.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate has summoned actor Rhea Chakraborty for questioning on Friday in a money laundering probe stemming from a complaint filed by Rajput's father with the Bihar Police, officials said on Wednesday.
As the death of the 34-year-old actor in Mumbai on June 14 snowballed into a full-blown political row, the move for a CBI probe did not go down well with the ruling Shiv Sena-led coalition in Maharashtra whose Nationalist Congress Party minister Nawab Malik raised jurisdictional issues on Bihar's plea.
But Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United said the Centre's nod will ensure justice to the dead actor and expose the 'dark underbelly' of Bollywood.
Rajput was found hanging from the ceiling of his apartment in suburban Bandra in Mumbai. His death has set off an avalanche of speculation and several conspiracy theories.
The Nitish Kumar government's recommendation for a CBI probe for an incident not under its jurisdiction amounts to encroachment of power of another state in the federal system, Malik said in Mumbai.
The Maharashtra government which is opposed to a CBI probe has maintained that Mumbai police is competent to handle the investigation and the issue has been made a 'political case'.
"A notification has been issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) paving the way for the CBI probe in Rajput's death case," a senior official said in Delhi.
A copy of the notification issued by the Centre has been sent to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) asking it to probe the case, the official said.
CBI officials in Delhi said the agency will take up the probe.
The agency is likely to re-register the FIR filed by Bihar police under Indian Penal Code sections related to abetment to suicide, criminal conspiracy, cheating among other charges on a complaint from the family of the deceased actor against his rumoured girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and her family members.
The Mumbai police has been probing the case keeping in mind various angles while the Bihar police also swung into action following a complaint by Krishna Kishore Singh, the 77-year-old father of Rajput, and a resident of Patna.
The Bihar police began its investigations into the abetment to suicide case and sent a team to Mumbai after it filed an FIR on July 28 amid a bitter turf war over who had the mandate of law to investigate the death.
The Bihar police registered a case against actor Rhea Chakraborty and five others, including three of her family members, under IPC sections 306 (abetment of suicide), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 380 (theft in dwelling house), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating).
According to the procedure, the CBI has the freedom to return the reference in case there are legal and jurisdictional issues involved and it may seek further clarification but sources in the know said the case will be taken up for investigation.
Meanwhile, the ED officials said Chakraborty, 28, has been asked to depose before the investigating officer of the case on August 7.
Once she appears, the actor is expected to be questioned about her friendship with Rajput, possible business dealings and the developments that took place over the last few years between them.
Her statement will be recorded by the agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).