The Maharashtra government's refusal to hand over to CBI the investigation into actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death met with strong disapproval from across the political spectrum in Bihar on Thursday.
Parties sympathetic as well as hostile to the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine in Maharashtra were unanimous in criticising its Home Minister Anil Deshmukh's assertion that there is no need to transfer the case to the central probe agency.
The deceased actor's family is yet to disclose in public what they think of handing over the case to the CBI.
Bihar MLC and AICC media panelist Prem Chandra Mishra said the investigation by the Mumbai police has left many loopholes.
The bereaved family has lodged an FIR in Patna and if they have trust in a probe by the Patna Police, it should be extended all possible cooperation, he said.
But if they want a CBI inquiry, that sentiment should be respected as well, he added.
The lawyer of the actor's family, Vikas Singh, who practices at the Supreme Court, has alleged in TV interviews that the Mumbai police has been trying to derail the investigation.
He has claimed that the family members had told a top Mumbai police official way back in February that Rajput faced a threat to his life, which was ignored.
The actor was found hanging from the ceiling of his Bandra residence on June 14.
The RJD, senior alliance partner of the Congress in Bihar, claimed it was the first political party to have demanded a CBI inquiry into the actor's death.
We raised the demand shortly after Rajput's tragic death, when actor Shekhar Suman had come from Mumbai and was refused appointment by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with whom he wanted to share some startling observations, said RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.
Suman, who like Rajput is Patna-born and has made a name for himself in both TV and cinemas, had alleged that there were many facts on record which suggested that the 34-year-old actor could have been murdered.
Yadav had also said, We respect the bereaved family's move of lodging an FIR in Patna. But we have no faith in the Bihar police which is known for its ineptitude, and struggles to solve the simplest of cases.
"Let the Nitish Kumar government try to score no brownie points on the FIR being lodged. It should know that the police are duty-bound to lodge an FIR upon a complaint. The chief minister of Bihar would do better to speak to his Maharashtra counterpart and put pressure on him for a CBI inquiry.
The RLSP, a junior partner of the Congress-RJD combine, termed as hasty the stance adopted by the Maharashtra home minister.
It should be understood that the sentiments of 13 crore people of Bihar, besides that of millions of Rajput's fans across the country are involved in the case, RLSP national general secretary Madhaw Anand said.
The Maharashtra government should not make such hasty announcements, but try to understand the prevalent sentiment and voluntarily hand over the case to the CBI since its own police is being viewed with mistrust, he said.
The JD(U), which is headed by Kumar, came out with a guarded statement.
It is the prerogative of Maharashtra government to hand over the case to the CBI not. But the fact remains that 40 days of investigation by the Mumbai police had led nowhere, a reason why the bereaved family lodged an FIR in Patna, JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said.
He expressed hope that the Maharashtra government will appreciate the right of the actor's family and fans to know the complete truth about his death and instruct its police to conduct the investigation accordingly.
JD(U) ally BJP reacted with outrage and accused the Shiv Sena, the Congress and NCP of "harbouring friendships with Bollywood mafias.
That it took the Bihar police to lodge an FIR under IPC sections since the Mumbai police had merely registered a UD (unnatural death) case proves that Maharashtra's ruling dispensation was engaged in an eyewash, BJP's Bihar unit spokesman Nikhil Anand alleged.
The Maharashtra government must allow the CBI to take over the case, and until then, extend full cooperation to the Patna police, he said.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)