Maharashtra BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, tasked with managing his party’s campaign in Bihar, faces a tough balancing act when it comes to the Sushant Singh Rajput case that caused a huge row between the two states.
Today, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh sought to demonstrate that with a question on former Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey, who will contest this month’s Bihar election as a candidate of BJP ally Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal United.
“Gupteshwar Pandey is going to fight the election in Bihar. I want to ask Devendra Fadnavis whether he will campaign for Pandey, a man who insulted Maharashtra,” Mr Deshmukh said at a press conference today, throwing a challenge to the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Gupteshwar Pandey, as Bihar’s top cop, had famously targeted the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai police over the Sushant Singh Rajput investigation after the actor’s family filed an FIR (First Information Report) in Patna accusing his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty of a role in his suicide.
As questions were raised about how the actor died, Mr Pandey had also recommended that the case be taken over by the CBI. After the Supreme Court endorsed the CBI probe and asked Mumbai police to hand over all case data and evidence, Mr Pandey had claimed vindication.
Last month, Mr Pandey quit the police force and decided to join politics. He said he was “finally free” of rules that bound him as a cop and would like to immerse himself in public service.
Recently, an AIIMS panel asked to review Sushant Singh’s viscera sample and other forensic evidence said in its findings to the CBI that it was suicide, not murder.
Mumbai police, which had been investigating Sushant Singh’s June 14 death as a suicide, said it was a vindication of its professional investigation.
Mumbai police chief Paramvir Singh was asked to comment on Mr Pandey’s move. “Since the Bihar DGP is my senior, I cannot comment on his conduct,” he told NB.
The Sushant Singh Rajput case has been drawn into the Bihar campaign. The 34-year-old actor was from Bihar, and many posters of the ruling JDU-BJP coalition claim credit for pushing the case to a CBI probe and delivering justice to a young son of the state.
“We do not want to make Sushant Singh Rajput’s death an election issue. This is linked to the common man’s emotion. We will ensure he gets justice and we will not stop until justice is done,” Devendra Fadnavis had said last month.
Bihar will vote on October 28, November 3 and 7 and the results will be announced on November 10.