The investigation into the alleged suicide by actor Sushant Singh Rajput, 34, has become about everything else rather than his death.
As two state police forces face-off in a slugfest without precedent, the Rajput death is now potent electoral fodder in the upcoming Bihar elections likely to be held in November this year.
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Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has had multiple terms and has been a central minister, who is expected to know the federal nature of India’s Constitution. Yet, such is his desperation to win the upcountry elections post his truly awful response to the COVID-19 pandemic that he has thrown propriety to the winds and sent off a Bihar team to Mumbai after Rajput’s father filed an FIR in Patna making serious allegations against Rajput’s partner actor Rhea Chakraborty.
Bear in mind that police is a state subject in India and crimes are investigated where they occur. If Kumar decided to send a police team to every crime against a Bihar domicile, India will soon have anarchy.
Even sovereign countries don’t just send off a police team to other countries when serious crimes occur, and yet that is the state of affairs in India because an election needs to be won. Normally the person to play umpire between two states would be the union home minister. In this case Amit Shah. But since the BJP and Kumar’s JDU are in an alliance in Bihar and have to win the state election, good luck with that.
Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is equally obdurate that Mumbai police can carry out the investigation despite Rajput’s family raising doubts. Thackeray is also firm in not giving in to the demands of a CBI investigation. Why would anyone in the world still have faith in the competence of political hand-maiden to central power - the CBI - remains a mystery like much else in the Rajput case.
And, in what can only be described as a farcical turn of events, the Enforcement Directorate, which also comes under the Union government has launched a case under prevention of money laundering (PMLA) on allegations that Chakraborty spent Rajput’s money. How a partner spending money constitutes money laundering only the ED knows.
The BJP and its former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and his banker turned singer wife Amruta are waging a vigorous campaign against Thackeray and his minister son Aditya on the Rajput case. This comes complete with social media hashtags and tame TV anchors challenging Thackeray from the safety of their studios. If this was not bad enough, TV channels are carrying out pretend autopsies of Rajput. Indian news channels always ready to plumb new depths in their quest for eyeballs.
The BJP has twin hopes on the Rajput case. The first is to make life difficult for Thackeray by a mystery allegation that Aditya Thackeray had something allegedly to do with the death of Rajput.
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The second to sway the small but influential Rajput community in Bihar for the elections and how Maharashtra did not do justice to a son of Bihar. The investigation is now hopelessly politicised and has been weaponised for the Bihar elections.
This will ensure that the small cottage industry of conspiracy theories will keep adding grist to the mill.
Will we ever know why Rajput killed himself?
Not with any degree of certainty, but our cynical politicians have certainly found an issue for the Bihar elections. Winning elections is the only thing that matters to them.