'Nothing to hide,' says Rhea's lawyer after ED questioning
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday questioned actor Rhea Chakraborty for more than eight hours in connection with the ongoing money laundering case filed against her. Rhea has been accused of financially cheating late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who passed away by alleged suicide in June. Rhea (28) and Sushant (34) were reportedly in a relationship. Here are more details on this.
Rhea arrived at the ED office in Mumbai around 11:50 am after her request to defer the interrogation was turned down by the agency. She left the agency's office around 8:45 pm. Her father, Indrajit Chakraborty, brother Showik, and Shruti Modi, a former manager of Sushant, who are the other accused in the case, were also questioned by the ED, according to reports.
Multiple reports have said that the agency is looking into Rhea's investments and income tax returns. She has thus far been questioned about her income, business and professional deals. Rhea responded to most of the questions, reports added. Meanwhile, two properties purchased by her and two firms where she is a director, have also come under the scanner of the agency.
During the interrogation, Rhea told ED officials that she did not use Sushant's money for any of her investments or expenses. She said she had availed a bank loan to buy a flat in Mumbai's Khar area.
However, another report in Times Now stated that Rhea did not fully co-operate with the agency officials during interrogation. Commenting on this, Sushant's family's lawyer, Vikas Singh said that if she would evade questions, she could get arrested. "If she answers questions properly then probably she may be allowed to go. If she evades answers today, then she can also be arrested," he said.
But, Rhea's lawyer, Satish Maneshinde said the actor has nothing to hide and she would appear again if she is called for a second round of questioning. "She has been examined and her statement recorded. She's always cooperated with investigations with police and ED. She has nothing to hide. In the event she's called again, she will appear at the appointed time," he said.
Prior to appearing before ED officials, Rhea had requested the agency to defer her questioning in the matter until the pending Supreme Court hearing on her petition is completed. Her petition in the SC seeks transfer of an FIR, filed against her by Sushant's family, from Bihar to Mumbai. However, her request was turned down by the agency.
To recall, on July 25, Sushant's father, KK Singh, had filed an FIR against Rhea, accusing her of fraud and abetting the late actor's alleged suicide. In the police complaint, it was also alleged that Rs. 15 crore were suspiciously transferred from Sushant's bank accounts. Based on that allegation, the ED, which probes financial crimes, swung into action and filed a money laundering case.
Sushant, a rising Bollywood star, was found dead at his Mumbai apartment on June 14. The police said it was suicide. Thereafter, the case was handed over to Mumbai Police, which has interrogated over 50 people so far. After KK Singh's complaint in Bihar, a four-member team of Patna Police also arrived in Mumbai to probe the matter. They have since returned.
On Wednesday, the Central government appointed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the country's top investigating agency, to probe the case against Rhea and others. The investigating agency has since filed an FIR against Rhea, her family members, and others. In fact, a special investigation team (SIT) of CBI, that previously investigated high-profile crimes like Vijay Mallya's case, will take charge of this case.
ED officials have previously questioned Sushant's as well as Rhea's Chartered Accountants. On Wednesday and Thursday, they interrogated Samuel Miranda, a member of Sushant's house staff. They have now summoned Sushant's friend Siddharth Pithani for questioning. He is expected to record his statement today.