On Tuesday, the vacation bench of the Bombay High Court, comprising of Justices Kamal R Khata and Jitendra S Jain, suspended the CBI's lookout circular (LOC) against actress Rhea Chakraborty, permitting her to travel to Dubai from December 27 to January 2 for an event as she holds the position of a brand ambassador for a pet food company. The CBI had issued the LOC linking it to the investigation concerning the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput back in 2020.
The CBI had issued the LOC linking it to the investigation concerning the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput back in 2020.
On December 20, the CBI's advocate, Shreeram Shirsat, stated that the actress was not the brand ambassador of the pet company anymore. Chakraborty’s advocate Abhinav Chandrachud reported that the actress is still a brand ambassador and submitted an email from the brand as proof of the same.
The bench thereafter let Chakraborty seek relief from the vacation bench on December 26.
For those unversed, the actress was arrested because of her connection with a drugs case filed by the CBI in September 2020. She was let out on bail in October of the same year. However, the condition of her bail was that she would need to take prior permission from the court before travelling outside of India. In the beginning of December, a special court instructed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to permit her to travel to Dubai for a week, under certain conditions such as surrendering her passport upon her return to India.
The Court put forth the agency a question regarding its opposition to the plea, citing that Chakraborty has not been investigated since the last time CBI caller her, in September 2021. In response, the CBI stated that a new Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been formed just for this case, which the bench clarified by saying was formed to investigate related cases as well.
The Court has also rejected CBI's allegation suggesting that Chakraborty was a 'flight risk' and might not return to India. Additionally, the Court also observed that although the CBI's FIR was filed in Patna, Chakraborty had been brought in for questioning in Mumbai. It also noted her brother Showik's plea for suspension, which was addressed by the Bombay High Court and not contested by the CBI, letting the court consider her plea.
The court instructed her to provide her travel plans to the CBI and to deposit her parents' passports with the High Court's registry before departing. The court has scheduled a hearing for compliance with the order on January 5.