Born on January 21, 1986, in Bihar, this ambitious and talented actor bid adieu to us all on June 14, 2020, a day which shall be marked in history as a black day for the whole nation especially for the Indian Entertainment industry. More than two months have passed since the sad and sudden demise of Sushant prima facie due to depression as his therapist Susan Walker informed the media that her client Sushant was suffering from clinical depression. Even though the post mortem report settles for asphyxia as the cause of his death, rumors and speculations about his death are circling high in the air.
The Mystery Behind Sushant Singh’s Death (June 14, 2020 – Present):
Let us take a look at the flow of events commencing from Sushant ending his life to the most controversial question being raised today whether his demise was a suicidal act or a full proof planned murder.
- On June 14, 2020, Sushant was found hanging in his bedroom from the ceiling fan. The questions which arose in consequence of his mysterious and unpredicted death pertained to non-working of CCTV cameras of his Bandra residence, several bruises and marks found on his body, suspicious withdrawal of Rs 15 crore from his bank account within a year and the most shocking of all was the 50 SIM cards changed by SSR in a period of one month. Though, no suicide note was recovered from the site.
- Six days before his demise, his former manager, Disha Salian committed suicide by jumping from the 14th floor of her residence. Sushant was already in depression when Salian committed suicide thus this event left him in despair and is being considered as a driving force leading to Sushant taking such a disastrous step.
- Consequently, on July 25, 2020, Sushant’s family lodged an FIR against his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborthy and six others in Bihar on grounds of abetment of suicide, criminal breach of trust, cheating, wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, and theft. Subsequently, Rhea moved to the Supreme Court challenging the jurisdiction of the said FIR and the investigation process. Likewise, the FIR was transferred to Mumbai and in pursuance of the same, the Mumbai police have been dutifully recording the statements of some well-known names including Mahesh Bhatt, Aditya Kapoor, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and 53 others. On the basis of the said FIR, Enforcement Directorate (ED) has booked Rhea for misappropriation of SSR’s money and assets on July 31, 2020, and since then has been interrogating Rhea’s family and Sushant’s close contacts regarding the same.
- Since we lost SSR, his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborthy has been receiving murder and rape threats on social media platforms following which she registered a police complaint in Mumbai and further made an appeal to the Government for Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) probe in Sushant’s death case. Meanwhile SSR’s sister Shweta Kriti Singh, political leaders Subramanian Swamy, BSP leader Mayawati, and actors Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Ankita Lokhande, etc. have also demanded CBI probe in the late actor’s case.
- Third pillar of Indian democracy i.e. Judiciary showed a ray of hope to Sushant’s family and fans on August 19,2020. The Apex Court in its decision by Justice Hrishikesh Roy handed over SSR’s mysterious death case in the hands of CBI and instructed Mumbai police for full cooperation to CBI with the investigation in the said case. Overwhelmed with the decision, netizens took to internet to shower their gratitude and faith in the Judiciary.
Throwing light upon the abovementioned money laundering case, ED has filed the said case against Rhea Chakraborthy under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. PMLA has been brought into effect with the object to prevent money laundering and to provide for confiscation of property obtained from laundered money.
As per PMLA, whoever directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly assists or is a party connected with the proceeds of the crime and projecting it as untainted property shall be guilty of the offense of Money Laundering under Section 3 of the Act and shall be punishable under Section 4 with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 3 years and may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine up to 5 lakh rupees.
As per Section 45 of the PMLA, the offences under the Act are (1) Cognizable, meaning that an accused can be arrested by the police without warrant; and (2) Non-bailable which includes offences of serious and grave nature and in such offences courts have been given discretionary powers to decide upon the release of the accused from police custody.
Rhea and 6 others have been booked under Sections 120B, 306, 341, 342, 380, 406, 420 and 506 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. The relevant sections of IPC are as follows:
Once, during a judicial competitive exam interview, one of the interviewers asked a candidate to name an act which, when committed is not an offence but when attempted is punishable. The answer to this question is SUICIDE.
IPC,1860 deals with two contexts with regard to the concept of suicide. One is provided in Section 306 and the other in Section 309.
Section 306 of IPC describes ‘Abetment of suicide’. Abetment is general terms means provocation or encouragement to do something wrong. The Section states:
“If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.”
This section should not be confused with Murder. The Supreme Court thus clarified the doubt in its judgment in Sangarabonia Sreenu v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1997) 4 Supreme 214. The Hon’ble Court thus stated in its judgment that Section 306 of IPC cannot be said to be a minor offense in relation to an offense under Section 302 of IPC i.e. murder, both the sections are different in kind and meaning. The distinction is that in murder, the final act is committed by the accused. On the other hand in the abetment of suicide, it is not the accused who performs the final act.
For general understanding, Section 309 of IPC thus deals with attempt to commit suicide. It states:
“Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall he punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.”
Section 120B of IPC included in Chapter V-A of the said Act describes punishment for the offence of criminal conspiracy. It states that whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment shall be punished for a term of two years or upwards.
Section 341 of IPC provides for punishment of simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both in case of a person held guilty of wrongful restraint. The term wrongful restraint means voluntarily obstructing any person from proceeding in any particular direction in which he has a right to proceed. Likewise, Section 342 of IPC deals with punishment to any person found guilty of the offense of wrongful constraint meaning voluntarily preventing any person from proceeding beyond a certain limit. Section 342 provides for imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Section 380 of IPC refers to punishment with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine wherein a person commits theft in any property used as a dwelling house. Theft means dishonestly taking away any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent.
Section 406 briefs upon the punishment to be given when a person commits Criminal breach of Trust. The term Criminal breach of Trust is enumerated in Section 405 of IPC and defines it as dishonest misappropriation or conversion to own use or disposition of the property with which any person is entrusted. Such person is said to commit the offence mentioned in this Section and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 420, which can be called as one of the most dramatically used sections in India throws light upon the very well-known term ‘Cheating’. The said section reads as follows:
“Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property. —Whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of a valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into a valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Section 506 of IPC provides for punishment with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both for the offence of criminal intimidation in case of threat to cause death, grievous hurt, etc. and punishment with death or life imprisonment, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years in case of threat to cause death or grievous hurt or property destruction by fire. The term ‘Criminal Intimidation’ is mentioned in Section 503 of IPC which defines it as threatening by one person to another with any injury to that person, his reputation or property with an intention to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat.
Sushant’s unfortunate demise has come as a shock to the nation. The masses are coming out in huge numbers to seek #JusticeforSSR. Due to the level of public outrage towards the manner in which this case was being investigated by the Mumbai Police, the Supreme Court on 19th August 2020 rightly transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).