Bombay HC Suspends LOC Against Rhea Chakraborty

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Bombay HC Suspends LOC Against Rhea Chakraborty, Allows Dubai Travel

| Updated: December 27, 2023 12:52

Bombay High Court’s vacation bench has suspended the lookout circular (LOC) issued against actor Rhea Chakraborty by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The court has permitted Chakraborty to travel to Dubai for a week-long event hosted by a pet food company, where she is serving as a brand ambassador.

The LOC was initially issued in relation to the ongoing investigation into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in 2020. The order to suspend the LOC was passed by Justices Kamal R Khata and Jitendra S Jain, following a plea by Chakraborty.

Chakraborty, who was arrested in September 2020 in connection with a drugs case filed by the CBI, was granted bail in October 2020. As part of her bail conditions, she was required to seek court permission before travelling abroad.

Despite being granted permission to travel to Abu Dhabi for a film award in June 2022, Chakraborty did not go abroad, citing unawareness of the LOC issued against her by the CBI.

Earlier this month, a special court directed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to allow her to travel to Dubai for a week, under the condition that she surrender her passport upon return.

The CBI recently claimed that Chakraborty is no longer the brand ambassador for the pet food company and has been replaced by another actor. However, Chakraborty’s lawyer countered this claim, providing an email from the company as evidence of her ongoing work commitment in Dubai.

The court questioned the CBI’s opposition to the plea, noting that Chakraborty has not been required for any probe since September 2021 and no chargesheet has been filed to date. The court dismissed the CBI’s contention that Chakraborty posed a ‘flight risk’, highlighting her established career and roots in Mumbai.

The court also noted that while the CBI FIR was lodged in Patna, Chakraborty was questioned multiple times in Mumbai. It stated that it was competent to hear the plea as Chakraborty’s brother Showik’s plea for suspension was considered by the Bombay High Court and was not challenged by the CBI.

The court concluded that there was ‘no impediment’ to temporarily suspending the LOC issued against Chakraborty. It has asked her to furnish travel details to the CBI and deposit her parents’ passports with the High Court registry before her departure. The matter has been posted for hearing compliance of the order on January 5.

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