Mumbai, Sep. Sep 7: In a significant order, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) at Esplanade Court has ordered that all remand applications in the cases related to the Sushant Singh Rajput matter be conducted only through video-conference, officials said here on Monday.
The order was issued on Sunday (Sep. 6) by in-Charge CMM Tejali T. Dande, citing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and also “past experience” pertaining to maintaining law and order in such high-profile cases with huge media interest.
“With immediate effect, any accused related to the ‘Sushant Singh Rajput case’ remand will be carried through video-conferencing only,” said Acting CMM Dande’s order, with a list of modalities to be adhered to.
Lawyer Satish Maneshinde, representing actress Rhea Chakraborty in the Sushant case, welcomed the order, terming the behaviour of the media as “horrendous”.
One accused in the Goa matter of the case has tested Covid positive, he said. Even if any person is not accused or facing serious charges, there are possibilities of them getting infected by Coronavirus.
The Acting CMM has ordered that the video-link in such cases will be created by the CMM office which will be shared confidentially with the concerned investigating agency.
The Narcotics Control Bureau and any other probe agency will arrange for all the necessary hardware and internet connections to ensure smooth video-conferencing.
The video-links shall be provided to the Public Prosecutors and the defence lawyers who will not disclose the same though they have the option to make a personal appearance.
However, if the public prosecutor or the accused’s lawyers decide to appear in person, only two juniors will be permitted to accompany them.
The Acting CMM also directed that all remand case papers can be submitted either in person or online via email.
The NCB or any other agency will also arrange to conduct the Covid-19 tests of the accused in their premises to prevent the time lost in the to-and-fro trips to hospital and the resultant law and order issues, she added.
The CMM office has also informed the Bombay High Court, Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, the NCB Zonal Director and other top officials of its decision.
In the past, there have been a few occasions when video-conferencing has been taken up in certain important cases in view of the security concerns of the accused besides the hordes of media-persons who throng courts and public places to cover such high-profile cases.