Sushant Singh Rajput, 34, was found dead in his Bandra apartment in Mumbai on June 14.
His death was initially declared a suicide, but his fans found several things amiss. So, there were conspiracy theories. These conspiracy theories stayed on social media till July 25, when Sushant's father KK Singh filed a complaint with the Rajiv Nagar Police Station in Patna, Bihar. An FIR was registered against the late actor's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, her family, her manager Shruti Modi, and friend Samuel Miranda.
The media picked up the story. The case reached Supreme Court. And two months since the death of a star, here we are.
That the case is such a mess has its roots in the way it all began. The Mumbai Police declared it a suicide while registering a case of accidental death. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh went on record saying Sushant Singh Rajput killed himself because he was depressed.
The death became a mental health issue till the same police began well-publicised questioning of big Bollywood figures one after the other. That gave credence to the allegations that Sushant died because of professional boycott by the industry's biggest studios and superstars.
The crime scene and contradicting statements about the state his body was found in did the rest. A police video from the scene of the incident had an officer saying if the video gets leaked, it will spoil our investigation. There is still a lot of confusion about what all were recovered from his room. The unexplained injuries and allegations of a broken leg added fuel to the murder theory. That the flat was emptied out days later led to accusations of compromising the 'crime scene'.
The presence and absence of collection of fingerprints on the things he used last, the fingerprints on the door and other stuff in the room have also come under the scanner. From a simple case of a suicide, the accidental death, has become a murder mystery and a mess that only Mumbai Police can clean.
Jun 14: Rajput, 34, found hanging from the ceiling of his apartment in suburban Bandra in Mumbai. Mumbai police start inquest proceedings under CrPC to ascertain the cause of unnatural death.
Jun 18: Rajput's purported girlfriend and actress Rhea Chakraborty records her statement before Mumbai Police.
Jul 6: Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali records statement in the case.
Jul 18: Filmmaker and Yash Raj Films (YRF) chairman Aditya Chopra records his statement with Mumbai Police.
Jul 25: Rajput's father K K Singh lodges an FIR in Patna for several offences including abetment of suicide against Rhea and her family members.
Jul 27: Mumbai Police records filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's statement.
Jul 29: Rhea moves SC seeking transfer of the FIR in from Patna to Mumbai.
Jul 31: ED says it has filed a money laundering case in the matter.
Aug 4: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar says the state government has recommended CBI investigation in the matter. Mumbai Police Commissioner says 54 persons in all have recorded their statements in the case.
Aug 6: CBI says it has lodged an FIR in the matter.
Aug 7: Centre moves SC seeking to be made a party in Rhea's plea.
Aug 8: Rajput's father K K Singh moves SC, opposing Rhea's plea.
Aug 10: Rhea moves fresh plea before SC alleging media trial.
Aug 11: Maharashtra govt tells SC that Bihar Police lacks jurisdiction. SC reserves judgement on Rhea's plea.
Aug 19: SC upholds transfer of the Patna FIR to the CBI in the case
JUNE 14: Sushant Singh Rajput found dead at his Bandra apartment in Mumbai. His body is found hanging from the ceiling fan, without any suicide note. The Mumbai police say that it was a case of death by hanging and registers an Accidental Death Report (ADR). The Mumbai Police begins investigating the reason behind Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide.
JUNE 15 TO JULY 25: On June 17, advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha files a complaint against Karan Johar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Salman Khan, Ekta Kapoor and four other people in connection with Sushant's death in a court in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur.
Mumbai Police question several Bollywood personalities in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Statements of his close friends and family also recorded.
Actor’s ex-publicist Rohini Iyer is also questioned by Mumbai Police.
The final postmortem report of the actor rules out foul play and states the cause of death as asphyxiation from hanging.
Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, casting director Shanoo Sharma, Yash Raj Films chairman Aditya Chopra and ex-officials Ashish Singh and Ashish Patil, among others, record their statements. Rhea Chakraborty also records her statement with the Mumbai Police. Sushant Singh Rajput’s three-film contract with Yash Raj Films comes under the scanner. In her statement, Rhea says that the late actor had ended his contract with YRF and asked her to do the same.
JULY 25: Sushant Singh Rajput's father, KK Singh, files a complaint against the late actor’s girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty and her family members at Rajiv Nagar Police Station in Patna. In his complaint, he alleges that Rhea and her family instigated Sushant Singh Rajput to end his life and also cut him off from his family. Section 306 of the IPC (Abetment of suicide), and other sections are invoked including Section 340, 342, 380, 406 and 420.
JULY 28: Bihar Police registers an FIR for abetment to suicide, criminal conspiracy, confinement, etc. against Rhea Chakraborty, her family, her manager Shruti Modi, and friend Samuel Miranda. The FIR states that Rhea cut Sushant off from his family and gave him an “overdose of medicine.” It is also alleged that Rs 15 crore was transferred from Sushant’s bank to “accounts not linked to him”.
JULY 29: A four-member team from Bihar Police flies in to Mumbai to help with the on-going investigation. On the other hand, Rhea Chakraborty files a petition in the Supreme Court after KK Singh’s complaint. The petition, filed by Rhea's lawyer Satish Maneshinde, seeks transfer of the investigation to Mumbai.
In the petition, Rhea reveals that she was in a live-in relationship with the actor and that he was suffering from depression. She also says that she is in a state of trauma due to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. As per Rhea's petition, the two "last resided together on June 8, 2020", after which Rhea temporarily moved to her residence in Santa Cruz. Rhea also accused a relative of Sushant Singh Rajput of trying to influence the probe.
JULY 29: Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister, Meetu’s statement recorded by Bihar Police at a private residence in Versova, Mumbai. The Patna police team officials met Meetu after she left from Mumbai crime office.
JULY 30: Bihar Police records the statement of Sushant Singh Rajput’s cook, who was present at the actor's Mumbai residence when he died by suicide on the morning of June 14. The cook had contacted the security person of the building for calling a keysmith when Sushant Singh Rajput didn't open the door of his room, despite repeated knocking on the door and phone calls.
JULY 31: The Enforcement Directorate enters the fray and files a money-laundering case against Rhea for allegedly siphoning off crores from Sushant's account. The ED begins probing the money laundering angle in KK Singh’s FIR against Rhea Chakraborty. A money-laundering case is registered against Rhea Chakraborty by the agency. Rhea and her family members booked by the ED under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Rhea Chakraborty seeks urgent hearing of plea by the SC. Her hearing, however, is scheduled for August 5.
AUGUST 2: Patna (Central) SP, Vinay Tiwari, reaches Mumbai to supervise the Bihar Police investigation. As soon as he lands in Mumbai, he says, “Mumbai Police are probing the case as per their style and we will do so as per ours. If required. We will also record the statements of Bollywood celebrities whose statements were recorded by the Mumbai Police.”
He adds, “The investigation is progressing in a proper way and we are going in the right direction. Our team is here to get all the important documents related to the case."
After Vinay Tiwari reaches a guest house in Mumbai's Goregaon, he is 'forcibly quarantined' by the BMC. Bihar Police DGP Gupteshwar Pandey alleges on social media that Vinay Tiwari was not provided accommodation in the IPS mess, despite request, and was staying in a guest house in Goregaon.
AUGUST 5: Supreme Court hears Rhea Chakraborty's plea and gives a date for second hearing - on August 11. The Maharashtra Police, Bihar Police, Centre and Sushant Singh Rajput's family are asked to file replies within three days. Also, the Maharashtra Police have to file a report on the state of their investigation.
In the Supreme Court hearing, Centre says that they have accepted the Bihar government recommendation to transfer the case to CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Union of India in the case, says that the Bihar Government's recommendation has been accepted by the Centre and investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case is transferred to the CBI. Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi for Bihar Government welcomes the decision.
AUGUST 7: CBI files an FIR against Rhea Chakraborty for abetting the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. However, they won’t be able to investigate in Maharashtra until the SC order. The CBI moves the Supreme Court, asking to make them party in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. Since the Bihar Police has filed an FIR in the case, the CBI will need SC's nod to investigate the case in Maharashtra. CBI seeks clarity over the case’s jurisdiction.
AUGUST 8: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) begins examining documents submitted by Bihar Police in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput death case. The evidences being examined by the CBI include the case diary, statements of around ten witnesses, call data records, bank statements of Sushant and more.
AUGUST 9: The state of Maharashtra files an affidavit opposing CBI’s FIR against Rhea Chakraborty and others on Bihar government's request. Filed by Inspector Bhushan Belnekar from Bandra Police Station, the affidavit with the SC says, "Pending the proceedings in the Supreme Court, the CBI ought not have gone ahead and registered the case with it and also constituted a team for investigation. It ought to have awaited final decision of the proceedings in the SC."
AUGUST 10: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons Rhea Chakraborty to their office for the second time. The actress is grilled by the ED for 10 hours. Her brother, Showik Chakraborty and father Indrajit are also questioned. The ED takes the trio’s mobile phones for examination.
Rhea files a fresh plea in the Supreme Court, saying that the media is “unfairly calling her guilty” in Sushant Singh Rajput death case. She also says that she has no objection to the case being transferred to the CBI but the jurisdiction must be in Mumbai, and not Bihar.
Siddharth Pithani, Sushant Singh Rajput’s friend and Creative Content Manager also joins the ED probe. He was earlier expected to join the probe on August 8.
AUGUST 11: The next hearing in the Supreme Court is held in connection to Sushant Singh Rajput family vs Rhea Chakraborty. During the hearing, the Supreme Court asks Rhea if she wants the Sushant Singh Rajput death probe to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or not, as she had requested earlier. Responding to the apex court's question, Rhea's lawyer, Shyam Divan, said that they first want the case to be transferred to Mumbai Police and then to the CBI.
Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty began seeing each other in early 2019. In October 2019, Rhea and Sushant went to Europe on a two-week-long trip across France and Italy. On Sushant Singh Rajput's birthday this year, January 21, Rhea made their relationship 'Instagram-official' by sharing a photo of them together.
A month after Sushant's death, on July 14, Rhea, who had not posted anything on social media about the unfortunate event until now, penned a long, emotional note for the late actor on social media.
On July 16, Rhea, in a tweet to Home Minister Amit Shah, sought a CBI probe into the actor's death.
On July 24, Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film, Dil Bechara released on OTT. Ahead of the film’s release, Rhea wrote on Instagram that it will take every ounce of strength in her to watch her beloved on the screen, for the last time. She also shared a throwback photo of Sushant Singh Rajput.
On July 25, Sushant Singh Rajput's father, KK Singh, filed a complaint against Rhea Chakraborty, her family, and manager Shruti Modi and friend Samuel Miranda for abetment to suicide, mental harassment, criminal conspiracy and so on. A case was registered under Sections 341 (Wrongful Restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 380 (theft), 406 (breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC.
In response, Rhea Chakraborty filed a petition with the Supreme Court on July 29, denying the allegations.
The petition, filed by Rhea's lawyer Satish Maneshinde, sought the transfer of the investigation to Mumbai.
In the petition, Rhea also revealed that she was in a live-in relationship with Sushant Singh Rajput for one year. As per the petition, the two "last resided together on June 8, 2020", after which Rhea temporarily moved to her residence in Santa Cruz.
On July 30, Reports of Rhea Chakraborty going ‘missing’ started doing rounds on the internet.
The reports further said that the police are looking for Rhea Chakraborty and that when the Bihar Police officials reached the actress’s residence to question her, she was not present there.
On July 31, Rhea Chakraborty released a new video via her lawyer Satish Maneshinde. "I have immense faith in God and the judiciary.
“I believe that I will get justice even though a lot of horrible things are being said about me in the electronic media. I refrain from commenting on the advice of my lawyers. Satyamev Jayate. The Truth Shall Prevail," she said in the video.
On August 2, Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey urged Rhea to join the investigation of Patna police. A day later, on August 3, Rhea's lawyer, Satish Maneshinde, said that no notice or summons were received by Rhea from the Bihar Police.
On August 7, Rhea Chakraborty and her brother, Showik, were questioned by the Enforcement Directorate. Rhea’s CA Ritesh Shah, and her associate Shruti Modi were also questioned by the financial probe agency. Rhea requested to postpone her questioning but her plea got rejected by the ED.
On August 10, Rhea was called in for a second round of questioning by the ED.
She was accompanied by her brother, Showik Chakraborty and father, Indrajit Chakraborty. The actress was asked about a sudden cash flow in two of her accounts, her property in Khar, recent investments of Sushant Singh Rajput in the last 2 years, and more.
Before Rhea Chakraborty, Sushant Singh Rajput dated his Pavitra Rishta co-star Ankita Lokhande for several years. The two called it quits in 2016.
On June 16, Ankita Lokhande was seen stepping out of Sushant Singh Rajput’s Bandra flat. The actress was questioned about the late actor by the Mumbai Police.
Speaking about the actor's death, in an interview to Aaj Tak's Anjana Om Kashyap, Ankita had said, "Mujhe ek reporter ke phone se pata chala. Phone aya ki Ankita, aapko pata hai Sushant ne suicide kar liya. Mujhe vishwas nahi hua (I got to know through a reporter's phone call. He said, Ankita, do you know Sushant has committed suicide? I couldn't believe it)."
She further added that she doesn't believe that Sushant Singh Rajput could end his life as he had plans for the future. "Usne diary mein ek-ek baat likhi this ki 5 saal baad kya karega (He wrote in his diary what he would do in the next 5 years)," she said. "Woh hasta rehta tha, badi se badi cheezon ka saamna kiya tha. Usko depression ho sakta hai? (He would always laugh, he has faced so many difficult situations in life, how can he be depressed)," she added.
On July 14, Ankita shared the photograph of a diya, presumably lit in memory of the late actor. In the caption, she had written, “Child of god.” In the photo shared by Ankita, Idols of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary, along with that of Ganesha could also be seen.
On July 29, a day after an FIR had been registered against Rhea Chakraborty on basis of KK Singh’s complaint, Ankita had shared a post on Twitter that read, “Truth Wins.”
When asked about the same post in an interview with Aaj Tak, Ankita had said, “I said Truth wins. Aur hum sab ko sachchai janni hai. I want to know what happened. That's why I am here. His family and friends, me, we all want to know what happened with him. Ek achha hasta hua ladka aisa chala jaaye. It's a big loss.”
When asked if she was surprised to find out about Rhea Chakraborty leaving Sushant Singh Rajput’s house on June 8, Ankita said, “I got to know that she left on June 8 but I have no idea ki kya hua kyun hua. Rhea is not my concern. My concern is Sushant and his family. Agar aapko pata hai ki he is not well, as you are claiming, why would you leave? If he is not in a good state of mind, you should have been with him.”
Ankita also talked about her statement to the Bihar Police during the interview. She said, "They asked me about the details. About Sushant and me. I had nothing to say but only about the time that I spent with Sushant. Seven years of my life. Last four years ka mujhe koi andaaza hi nahi hai. What he wanted from life. I told them everything. They did not take any sign from me. Statements ke liye you sign somewhere. Aisa kuch nahi hua hai. With Mumbai Police and Patna Police also."
The Mumbai Police filed an accidental death report on June 14 in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. After filing the report, the Mumbai Police began its investigation, focused on determining the reason behind the actor’s suicide. As per the postmortem report, the cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging. They recorded statements of over 40 people in the case, including Sushant Singh Rajput’s close friends, family members, colleagues, and Bollywood big shots like Yash Raj Films head Aditya Chopra, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and others.
On July 25, Sushant Singh Rajput’s father, KK Singh, filed a complaint in Patna’s Rajiv Nagar Police Station against actress Rhea Chakraborty and her family members, manager Shruti Modi and friend Samuel Miranda. In his complaint, he alleged that Rhea and her family had instigated Sushant Singh Rajput to end his life. He also accused Rhea of taking Rs 15 crore from the late actor’s bank account.
On the basis of KK Singh’s complaint, an FIR was registered by the Patna police under Sections 341 (Wrongful Restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 380 (theft), 406 (breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC.
After registering the FIR, a four-member team of Bihar Police officials landed in Mumbai to help with the investigation. The Bihar Police, after landing in Mumbai, recorded statement of Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister, Meetu Singh at a private residence in Versova. A day later, they recorded statement of the actor’s cook and his ex-girlfriend, Ankita Lokhande However, soon, a cold war began brewing between the Mumbai Police and Bihar Police with the latter accusing the former of not co-operating with the investigation.
Videos of Patna police team in Mumbai went viral on the internet in which they were seen travelling via auto-rickshaw in Mumbai to carry out their investigation. A lot of questions were raised on the Mumbai Police as to why they are not helping the Patna police.
"We have requested Mumbai Police to provide a car for Patna Police officials," Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey said on July 31. He also expressed his displeasure over the Patna police team not receiving any help from Mumbai Police.
On the other hand, amid the growing demand for a CBI probe in Sushant Singh Rajput death case, Maharashtra minister Jayant Patil said on July 31 that the Mumbai Police are investigating Sushant Singh Rajput’s case and are expected to arrive at a conclusion soon.
On the Bihar Police investigating in Mumbai, he had said, "The thing is since an FIR was registered there, it will be probed. The Mumbai police will give the information Bihar police want. They (Bihar police) will proceed further if they get any evidence.”
The Mumbai Police, on the other hand, sought legal opinion and refused to give any official document to the Bihar Police until Supreme Court hearing. According to the Mumbai Police, the Bihar Police had no jurisdiction to investigate the case hence, no official document could be handed over to them until the court ordered so.
The Bihar Police team visited Mumbai’s Cooper hospital, where Sushant Singh Rajput’s mortal remains were sent for postmortem on August 1. However, when they sought the postmortem report, they could not obtain it.
On the same evening, the Bihar Police reached the Malvani Police Station in Mumbai, seeking details about Sushant Singh Rajput's ex-manager, Disha Salian's death. It was reported that the Bihar Police was told that the folder that had the description of Disha's case has been "deleted by accident" and cannot be retrieved.
However, the Mumbai Police officials later denied the reports and said that no files related to Disha Salian's case had been deleted and that they had everything available on record. All documents too, they added, were available with them.
At the Supreme Court hearing on August 5, Maharashtra Government’s lawyer R Basant had said that the allegations against the Mumbai Police are politically motivated and that the Bihar Police have no jurisdiction to register an FIR. He also said that there has been no FIR filed in Mumbai till now and that the Bihar Police has no right to sit in judgement of Mumbai Police's investigation.
The Patna (Central) SP Vinay Tiwari reached Mumbai on August 2 and refused to comment on any rumours. He said that while they were getting all the help from Mumbai police, they were yet to get access to the post-mortem reports, forensic reports and CCTVs footages. The night that Vinay Tiwari entered the city, he was quarantined by BMC officials. This raised many eyebrows as to how the case was being handled by Mumbai Police. Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey said that the state police was mulling over the option of moving court to get Vinay Tiwari released from quarantine. While speaking to India Today, Gupteshwar Pandey also said that the Mumbai Police knew about Vinay Tiwari’s arrival beforehand.
The Patna IPS officer was released from quarantine by the BMC on August 7. However, they said that he must leave the city before August 8 and also furnish the details of his return ticket to the BMC among other things.
In an exclusive interview with India Today on August 7, IPS Vinay Tiwari had said that he was put in quarantine to slow down the investigation of the Bihar Police in Sushant Singh Rajput death case.
The family of Sushant Singh Rajput had suspected no foul play in his death immediately after the apparent suicide. But a month later, the family filed with the Patna Police a case alleging Sushant Singh Rajput's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty had swindled substantial amount of money from Sushant Singh Rajput. The figure being touted then was Rs 17 crore.
Sushant Singh Rajput had made fixed deposits worth Rs 4.5 crore in his sisters' name and then apparently withdrawn the money.
Rhea Chakraborty denied taking any money from him, outside their joint expenses in their travels and functions as a couple.
Since the Mumbai Police was following the nepotism angle in the case, the Bihar Police landed in Mumbai to conduct its own investigation and tried to connect the dots with the records of financial transactions.
The Enforcement Directorate, on the other hand, took suo moto cognizance and began its own probe. There is nothing official about it yet but the ED has been leaking information that cannot be convincingly corroborated.
According to Income Tax records, Rhea's income in the year 2017-18 was Rs 18,75,100. In the year 2018-19, her income declined slightly to Rs 18,33,270.
Her fixed assets in the 2017-18 were valued at Rs 96,281 and that rose to Rs 9,05,597 in 2018-2019, which is a significant increase but in itself not a large sum. She also had shares worth Rs 34,05,727 in 2017-18 and the value in 2018-19 stood at Rs 42,06,338.
Similarly, total revenue from operations went up from Rs 45,47,000 to Rs 58,38,480.
Sushant Singh Rajput is survived by his father, retired bureaucrat Krishna Kishore Singh, and four sisters, Shweta, Rani, Meetu and Priyanka. Shweta Singh Kirti lives in the US with her husband Vishal. Rani Singh is married to Haryana Additional Director General of Police O.P. Singh and lives in Faridabad at present. Meetu lives in Mumbai with her family and Priyanka stays in Delhi with her husband. It was O.P. Singh, an IPS officer, who suspected a foul play and wrote to the Mumbai Police to not give up on the investigation into the death. Later, KK Singh filed a case against Rhea Chakraborty for abetment of suicide.
Rhea, an actor, lives in Mumbai with her dad Indrajit Chakraborty, a retired armed forces doctor, now managing a private hospital in Mumbai, and her mom Sandhya and brother Showik. Showik and Rhea were partners in a couple of companies formed by Sushant Singh Rajput. The Enforcement Directorate is investigating the family for any embezzlement of funds from Sushant Singh Rajput's accounts.
Disha Salian, who worked as Sushant Singh's agent for some projects, died on the intervening night of June 8 and 9. She is survived by her parents, Vasanti and Satish Salian. She bought a flat with her boyfriend Rohan Roy in Mumbai's Malad. She allegedly fell from the 14th floor flat. Her parents have not insisted on a probe into her death but the Mumbai police has kept the case open.
Sushant knew the 'truth" behind Disha Salian's death and the people behind her murder that was made to look like an accident/suicide. The killers used the duplicate key (missing from Rhea's bag) to enter Sushant's house and tip-toed to the floor he lived on. Sushant's room, as usual, was not locked. He was sedated by drugs Sidharth Pithani had given him. They then strangled him with the leash of Sushant's dog, Fudge, and later hanged his body from the ceiling fan.
Sushant Singh Rajput lost six films in three months. The constant negative articles about him in the media affected him a lot. Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and Rajeev Masand are the main 'villains' in this theory.
Rhea Chakraborty came close to Sushant Singh Rajput to grab his property. She did black magic on him, and with her jaadu-tona, she hoodwinked him and siphoned off all money from his accounts. She gave him overdose of medicines, kept him away from his family, did not let him meet his friends. Everything changed after the October 2019 Europe trip.
There was a party at Dino Morea's house on June 13, the night before Sushant was found dead. From Dino's place, this group - which comprised a politician also - went to Sushant's house. A scuffle broke out there and the group killed Sushant.
There's more than meets the eye in Rhea Chakraborty and Mahesh Bhatt's relationship. Mahesh Bhatt asked Rhea to leave Sushant when he was depressed; eventually leading to his death.
Sushant Singh Rajput, a Bollywood 'outsider' with no godfather or connection in the Hindi film industry, made it big on his own. He went from TV to films. Sushant had rubbed Aditya Chopra on the wrong side when he spoke about having turned down Befikre, a film that later Ranveer Singh did. This is said to have driven a wedge between Karan Johar and Sushant, since Aditya Chopra is Karan's 'best friend'.
The flagbearer of this nepotism debate is Kangana Ranaut, who threw allegations left, right and centre about how Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and Mahesh Bhatt drove Sushant to suicide.
On June 15, Kangana Ranaut’s team released a video of the actress on Instagram. In the 2-minute video, Ranaut said that some last posts of Sushant Singh Rajput are proof that the actor was literally ‘begging people to watch his films'. She then said that Sushant Singh Rajput, in his interviews, said that he feels like he is left out. She then talked about his films and said that he wasn't acknowledged for his debut, Kai Po Che, or his last theatrical release, Chhichhore.
In the same video, Kangana Ranaut said that the outsiders don't want anything from the star kids, but acknowledgement for their work. "We don't need anything from you, we don't need your films, but the films that we do on our own, why don't you acknowledge us for that?" she said.
After Kangana Ranaut’s video, Vivek Oberoi, in an interview with India Today Television, spoke about the nepotism debate and said, "We call ourselves a fraternity but it rings hollow. It is time for introspection. We need to create an environment where talents like Sushant can flourish. But we are not doing that."
Four days after the first video, Kangana Ranaut’s team released another video of the actress in which she was seen talking about blind items. The actress questioned why nothing is written about ‘Nepo kids’. After listing out several blind items published recently, Kangana said at the end of the video, "You read this and enjoy this, but do you ever wonder why such things are never written about Nepo Kids?"
A month after Kangana Ranaut’s videos, veteran actress Simi Garewal applauded the actress and said, “I applaud Kangana Ranaut who is braver & bolder than I am.”
Actor-politician Prakash Raj, on June 15 night, shared an old video of Sushant Singh Rajput in which the late actor could be seen talking about nepotism. Sushant was seen saying, “Nepotism can co-exist but at the same time if you deliberately dont allow my talent to come up then there is a problem and the whole structure of the industry would collapse,” in the video. In his tweet, Prakash Raj mentioned that even he has faced nepotism in the past and has survived. "My wounds are deeper than my flesh ..but this child #SushantSinghRajput couldn’t.. will we learn .. we WE really stand up and not let such dreams die #justasking (sic)," he added.
Ayesha Takia also shared a long Instagram post, telling youngsters how to fight bullying.
Anubhav Sinha had also tweeted about Nepotism after news of Sushant Singh Rajput's death surfaced. He had written, "The Bollywood Privilege Club must sit down and think hard tonight. PS- Now don't ask me to elaborate any further."
Shekhar Kapur, saying that he knew the pain that the actor was going through, also took to Twitter and wrote, "I knew the pain you were going through. I knew the story of the people that let you down so bad that you would weep on my shoulder. I wish I was around the last 6 months. I wish you had reached out to me. What happened to you was their Karma. Not yours. #SushantSinghRajput."
The netizens blamed Pooja Bhatt, Alia Bhatt and Mahesh Bhatt for encouraging nepotism. Pooja Bhatt, commenting on the topic in a tweet, said, "Have been asked to comment on the hot topic Nepotism that people are raging about. As someone who hails from a ‘family’ that has launched more new talent-actors, musicians & technicians, than the entire film industry combined I can only laugh. Facts don’t find takers. Fiction does."
Speaking to India Today Television about the nepotism debate, Richa Chadha had said, "This is an issue that has been discussed from 2015-2016. I have written about it. But it isn't just about how Bollywood functions, it's how we all look at things can respect different opinions, because everybody has a story. It is also the press hankering around star kids. everytime there is a new star kid, they say that let me cover this star kid, whether it is a toddler or a teenager. That kind of paparazzi culture affects the minds of people from the industry."
Saif Ali Khan too joined the nepotism debate and said that there are many levels of nepotism, and it is something that even he has been a victim of. “Nepotism in its purest form is something that even I have been a victim of. But nobody's interested in that. Businesses work like that. I am not going to take names but somebody's dad has rung up and said don't take him, take him in the movie. All that happens and it has happened to me,” he said.
YouTuber Bhuvan Bham, at the India Today e-Mind Rocks 2020,said that the people who are talking about nepotism in the country should be asked if they watched the 2018 film Tumbbad. “The fault is in us. Thanks to Sushant that we get to see this wave. People outside give a standing ovation to those films and here those films can’t even make Rs 20 crore. The fault is in us as well. They are not giving the chance, at least we should show these actors some love," he said.
Sushant Singh Rajput’s family members even launched an app called Nepometer, to measure how ‘nepotistic’ a film is.
The anti-nepotism mood in the nation continued till August when Alia Bhatt's Sadak 2 faced the ire of the public before even releasing. The film's trailer became the most disliked trailer on YouTube.
Sushant Singh Rajput’s death was initially declared a suicide by the Mumbai Police. The police had said that the actor was suffering from depression and was also undergoing treatment for the same.
The Mumbai Police recorded statements of some of Sushant Singh Rajput’s close friends and sources said that their statements revealed that the late actor was stressed for the past few months and had been feeling that someone was trying to damage his image or destroy his career. Sushant Singh Rajput’s sister said that she was aware of the actor’s depression diagnosis but never though that he would take such a drastic step. It was also said that reports about him in the media disturbed the late actor and he felt that every story that was criticising him was against him, which had a serious effect on his mental health. The statements of Sushant Singh Rajput’s therapists were also recorded.
The young actor’s death triggered various debates around the importance of mental health and soon the nation was talking about how important it is to keep the mind healthy, above everything else.
Mahesh Bhatt, in a tweet on June 15, said that we are not equipped to deal with mental health issues. He wrote, “This monumental tragedy that has hit the nation hard with the passing of Sushant screams out just one message. When it comes to the area of mental health we are not equipped to deal with the storm that will erupt right from the ground beneath our feet." Abhishek Kapoor, who directed Sushant Singh Rajput in his debut film, Kai Po Che, called the actor’s death a systematic dismantling of a fragile mind in an interview with India Today.
In an interview with India Today television, Ankita Lokhande had said that she refuses to believe that the actor was in depression. She further said that he was a strong-headed guy who had a great sense of humour and was a foodie as well. “He was very passionate about everything. I just know this Sushant and I want people to remember him as a hero. As a great human being. Remember him as a saviour. He saved so many people's life. Suicide, depression. So many things have been said. Bahut tamasha ho gaya. Everybody, let's talk good about him. Sab ne uske films se kuch na kuch seekha hoga. Let's talk good about him," she said.
In her petition to the Supreme Court on July 29, Rhea Chakraborty said that Sushant Singh Rajput was suffering from depression and was undergoing treatment for the same from the past six months. On August 3, The Mumbai Polic said that Sushant Singh Rajput suffered from bipolar disorder and had googled terms such as "Schizophrenia", "bipolar disorder" and "painless death" hours before he died. At a press conference, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said, "It has come to surface that he had bipolar disorder, he was undergoing treatment and taking medicines for it. What circumstances led to his death is the subject of our investigation." He also revealed that Rhea Chakraborty left Sushant Singh Rajput’s residence on June 8 because she was also depressed.
He also said that they had verified everything about the Europe trip that Sushant and Rhea went on in 2019. Sushant Singh Rajput’s cook, in his statement to Bihar Police in July, had said the late actor's health deteriorated after he returned from the Europe trip in October.
On August 11, Rhea Chakraborty revealed the details of the Europe trip. She said that it (the trip) was the first time that she saw signs of Sushant Singh Rajput being affected from mental illness. She had said that there were some old paintings on the walls of their hotel room which had an effect on Sushant, and he began hallucinating. The actress also said that Sushant looked visibly shaken after he saw the painting.
Apart from the families of Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty, here are some key characters who have been under the spotlight in the case for their personal and official ties with the late actor.
Ankita Lokhande was Sushant Singh Rajput's girlfriend since his early days in Mumbai. She was a TV star like him. She has also moved on to films like Sushant. They broke up in 2016. Ankita has been very vocal about Sushant Singh Rajput's death and has been demanding a fair investigation in the case. She has also accused Rhea Chakraborty of destroying Sushant's mental peace and controlling his life.
Graphic designer and animator Siddharth Pithani had joined Sushant Singh Rajput as the creative head for the VividRage ReahlityX project Sushant had launched with Rhea Chakraborty. Siddharth lived on the lower floor of Sushant Singh Rajput's duplex residence in Bandra, Mumbai. The night before Sushant's death, Siddharth slept on the upper floor that Sushant and Rhea occupied. Rhea had left the house on June 8. The night before his death, Sushant had dropped by Siddharth's room and they had a small chit chat before Sushant went into his bedroom. In TV interviews, Siddharth has given different statements about Sushant's health and life and the sequence of events in the hours before Sushant's death. Siddharth has said that he gave Sushant medicines that he knew nothing about. Pithani is the only person who claims to have seen Sushant Singh Rajput hanging from the ceiling fan.
Deepesh Sawant was the housekeeper who stayed in a room on the lower floor of the duplex. Deepesh Sawant was present in the house on June 13-14. He has been questioned by the Mumbai Police and the Bihar Police.
Neeraj was a cook in the house. He claimed to have served Sushant coconut water and orange juice in the morning before Sushant went back to his bedroom saying he would skip breakfast. Neeraj was the last person to see Sushant alive on the morning of June 14.
Keshav Bachner was a chef who, along with Neeraj, were responsible for cooking for Sushant, Rhea and their guests. Keshav escorted in and out of the house the keymaker who helped break Sushant Singh Rajput's bedroom door lock.
Samuel Miranda was Sushant Singh Rajput's house manager. He was responsible for managing his household staff and running the kitchen and other necessary services. He was appointed by Rhea Chakraborty who had fired Sushant's earlier manager. Samuel was not present in the house on June 14. He has been questioned by the Mumbai Police and ED.
Sandeep Ssingh is a film journalist-turned-producer who has been Sushant Singh Rajput's friend since the latter's TV series days. He was among the first to rush to his house and was managing the affairs till Sushant's funeral. He was also among the first to tell the media about Sushant's depression. He has given conflicting statements about how he learnt about Sushant's death and his activities on June 14 to the media.
A television actor and longtime friend of Sushant Singh Rajput, Mahesh Shetty was the person Sushant had spoken to last. Sushant's last call, past midnight, to Mahesh Shetty went unanswered.
Samuel Haokip was a friend of Sushant Singh Rajput from Delhi and was managing his goal-setting (Sushant had listed out his goals in life and Samuel was charting out his path to achieving all of them). Samuel was also Sushant's workout partner and lived with Sushant for some time. He was not staying with Sushant during the lockdown and was not present on June 13-14.
Senior lawyer for Sushant Singh Rajput's family
Senior lawyer for Rhea Chakraborty