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HC quashes Look Out Circular against Rhea Chakraborty and family; slams CBI for not filing charge-sheet or closure report in Sushant Singh Rajput death case | – Times of India

‘Mere registration of an FIR can never be a reason to issue a Look Out Circular (LOC)’, the Bombay High Court said while quashing the notice issued against Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty and her family in the CBI’s probe into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Manjusha Deshpande allowed the petitions filed by Rhea, her brother Showik and their parents – Indrajit and Sandhya – against the LOCs issued against them in 2020.The court noted that the petitioners (Chakraborty family) have cooperated with the investigation and attended the office of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) whenever called in connection with the case and that there was no attempt on their part to evade summons/arrest.
“LOCs cannot be issued as a matter of course, but only when there is a reason to issue the same that is when a person deliberately evades arrest or does not appear in the trial court or for any other reason,” the court said.”An LOC is a coercive measure to make the person surrender and as such interferes with the person’s right of personal liberty and free movement and curtails the fundamental right of an individual to travel, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the HC bench added.
The bench further stated that the reason for issuing a LOC has to be spelt out, and that the apprehension of the agency needs to be listed. The court also noted that as per the CBI’s advocate, LOC is not issued in every case on registration of an FIR.
The bench, after perusing the LOCs issued against the Chakraborty family, said in none of the circulars, any satisfaction is recorded regarding any apprehension or any other reason, to issue an LOC.

“It is pertinent to note that an LOC is issued where the accused/person is deliberately evading arrest or not appearing in the trial court despite non-bailable warrants and other coercive measures or there is a likelihood of the accused/person leaving the country to evade trial/ prosecution/arrest,” the HC said.
CBI’s advocate Shreeram Shirsat requested the bench to stay the operation of its order for a period of four weeks so that the agency could file an appeal in the Supreme Court. The HC bench, however, refused to stay its order. The bench in its order noted that this was not a case where the petitioners have not cooperated with the CBI or have attempted to evade summons/arrest and that an LOC cannot be kept pending indefinitely.
“The petitioners have cooperated with the investigation and attended the office of the CBI, whenever called, in connection with the case registered by the CBI. Post-September 2021, none of the petitioners have been summoned,” the HC said.
The bench added that the CBI, despite having registered an FIR in 2020, has not filed a charge-sheet or a closure report, till date and the investigation in the case is still in progress.
Rajput was found dead in his apartment in suburban Bandra on June 14, 2020.

While the Mumbai police registered an Accidental Death Report and started a probe into the case, Rajput’s father in July 2020 lodged a complaint with the Bihar police, alleging that the actor’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and her family members had abetted his suicide.
The case was later transferred to the CBI which has since then been carrying out a probe into it. The LOCs were issued in August 2020 against Rhea Chakraborty, her brother and their father. In September last year, the high court granted a temporary suspension on the LOC issued against Showik, enabling him to travel abroad.
In 2020, both Rhea and Showik were arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in a drugs case related to Rajput. They were later granted bail.

Bombay High Court cancels CBI’s lookout notice against Rhea Chakraborty in connection with the death of Sushant Singh Rajput

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