Mumbai, Aug 7: Actor Rhea Chakraborty, being investigated by the CBI on charges of abetting Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide, was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for about eight hours on Friday in connection with a related money laundering case.
The 28-year-old arrived at the agency’s Ballard Estate office with her brother Showik shortly before noon and left around 8:30 PM.
Her father Indrajit Chakraborty, Showik, Chartered Accountant (CA) Ritesh Shah and business manager Shruti Modi, who also worked for Rajput, were also questioned. Rhea has been called again on August 10, they said. The statements of Chakraborty, Modi and Showik were recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said.
The agency is understood to have questioned Chakraborty, who stated in her petition to the court that she was in a live-in relationship with Rajput, about her friendship with the actor, business dealings and the developments that took place over the last few years between them.
The ED’s line of questioning, officials said, revolved around Chakraborty’s income, investments, business deals and professional deals and links. A property located in the Khar area of the city, linked to Chakraborty, is also being probed by the ED for the source of its purchase and ownership. The agency “wants more answers” from Chakraborty over the alleged mis-match between her income as compared to her expenditure and investments.
They said while Chakraborty has filed Income Tax Returns stating an income of about Rs 14 lakh, the value of her investments are reportedly higher. Her father, they said, is a retired defence personnel who gets a pension of about Rs one lakh per month. Chakraborty, accused by Rajput’s father of abetting his son’s suicide, had initially refused to appear before the agency citing her appeal pending before the Supreme Court.
“In view of the fact that the ED has informed the media that the request to postpone her attendance is rejected, Rhea has appeared before the ED office,” her advocate Satish Maneshinde said. Maneshinde, issued a statement, saying Chakraborty is a law-abiding citizen and would cooperate with the probe.
Chakraborty has filed a petition in the apex court requesting that the case lodged by the Bihar police against her be transferred to the Mumbai police. The plea will be heard next week. The ED is learnt to have confronted Chakraborty, Showik and Modi with certain bank statements which purportedly show transfer of small amount of sums into the accounts of Showik from Rajput’s and Chakraborty’s accounts.
Meanwhile, the ED had summoned Rajput’s friend and roommate Siddharth Pithani to appear on Saturday in connection with this money laundering case that stems from a complaint filed by the actor’s father with the Bihar Police in connection with his death, they said. Pithani is stated to be out of Mumbai at present and he has said in various news channel interviews that he was present in the Bandra flat on June 14 when the 34-year-old actor hanged himself.
The IT professional, stated to be living with Rajput for about a year, had earlier recorded his statement with the Mumbai Police as part of their accidental death report (ADR) probe in the case. The agency has already questioned Rajput’s CA Sandeep Shridhar and his house manager and staffer Samuel Miranda twice in the case.
Rajput’s father had, in his complaint, alleged that Miranda was hired by Chakraborty after she allegedly fired the staff hired by his son. Rajput’s 74-year-old father K K Singh, who resides in Patna, had on July 25 filed a complaint with the Patna police against Chakraborty, her parents (mother Sandhya Chakraborty and father Indrajit Chakraborty), brother Showik, Miranda and Modi and unknown persons accusing them of cheating and abetting his son’s suicide.
The CBI had re-booked this FIR as a fresh case on Thursday and named as accused the same persons. The CBI has collected the case diary and related documents from the Bihar police in connection with the alleged suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, officials said on Friday. According to the procedure, the documents were handed over to investigating officer ASP Anil Kumar Yadav, they said.
The Mumbai police has been carrying out a separate probe in Rajput’s death and has questioned a number of prominent film producers and directors till now. The father had also alleged financial irregularities in bank accounts of his son. In the complaint, Singh alleged that Rs 15 crore was siphoned off from Rajput’s bank account in one year to accounts of persons not known or connected to the late film star.
Under the ED’s scanner are at least two companies linked to Rajput and some financial deals involving Chakraborty, her father and Showik who are stated to be directors in these companies. Rajput starred in films like ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’, ‘Raabta’, ‘Kedarnath’, ‘Chhichhore’ and ‘Sonchiriya’. His most prominent role was in cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s biopic ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’.