Bombay HC reserves order on squashing LOC against Rhea Chakraborty, her brother Showik Chakraborty; Read more
Bombay HC delays verdict on Rhea Chakraborty's plea to cancel LOCs in Sushant Singh Rajput case. Jurisdictional, procedural concerns raised
The Bombay High Court has decided to postpone its verdict on the petition filed by actor Rhea Chakraborty, along with her brother Showik and their father, seeking the cancellation of Look-Out Circulars (LOC) issued against them. These LOCs were issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as part of its ongoing investigation into the case involving actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
A Look-Out Circular (LOC) is a measure that prohibits individuals from traveling abroad without prior court authorization. Rhea Chakraborty had faced difficulties fulfilling her international work commitments due to the LOC, prompting the plea to revoke it. The bench, comprising Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande, questioned the CBI's rationale behind issuing the LOC solely based on the existence of an FIR, without indicating any suspicion of the accused intending to flee.
There were jurisdictional concerns raised, given that the FIR was initially lodged in Patna before being transferred to the CBI in Delhi. Chakraborty's advocates argued for Mumbai's jurisdiction, citing her residency and the CBI's investigative activities in the city.
Advocate Ayaz Khan, representing Showik Chakraborty and his father, argued for Mumbai's jurisdiction in the trial and contended that an LOC should only be issued if the accused are actively evading arrest or court appearances. However, the CBI representative stressed the apprehension-based nature of the LOC and cited a previous court's refusal regarding Rhea's case transfer request to Mumbai.
The bench, noting the prolonged pendency of the case since 2020 without a chargesheet, expressed concerns about the necessity of the LOC and its potential impact on witnesses. They emphasized the need for expediency in concluding the matter and questioned the delay in filing the chargesheet.
Acknowledging the Chakrabortys' cooperation and appearances upon summons, the CBI representative couldn't assure an imminent filing of the chargesheet but emphasized that their attendance doesn't imply an inactive investigation.
Previously, in December of the preceding year, the High Court had temporarily suspended the LOC against Rhea Chakraborty, allowing her to travel to Dubai for a week related to her role as a brand ambassador for a pet food company. Similarly, earlier in the year, the HC had also suspended the LOC against her to attend an award function, although she couldn't travel on that occasion.
On the professional front, Rhea Chakraborty recently appeared as a gang leader on the television reality show MTV Roadies: Kam Ya Kaand. Her most recent acting role was in the 2021 thriller film Chehre, alongside actors Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi.