Union Minister Smriti Irani, in an interview to a YouTube channel, has said she wished her friend and actor Sushant Singh Rajput had dialled her at least once. Ms Irani broke down during the interview while recalling the day she heard about the death of the actor in June 2020.
"The day Sushant died, I was on a video conference. I just couldn't... I said stop it. I felt like, why did he not call me? He should have called once. I had told that boy, 'please don't kill yourself'," Ms Irani told Neelesh Misra on his YouTube programme 'The Slow Interview'.
Ms Irani, a former TV actor, said she knew Sushant Singh Rajput as their sets were sometimes at the same location in Mumbai.
"I remember feeling instantly worried about Amit. I called Amit and asked him what he was up to," Ms Irani added, referring to actor Amit Sadh, who worked with Sushant Singh Rajput in the 2013 film 'Kai Po Che'.
"He (Amit) told me he doesn't want to live, what has he (Sushant Singh Rajput) done. I got the sense that something is wrong," Ms Irani said. Later, she spoke with Mr Sadh for six hours, concerned about his well-being.
Sushant Singh Rajput, who was 34, was found dead at his flat in Mumbai in June 2020. Though the Mumbai Police, based on the autopsy, called it a suicide, his family raised doubts. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) later took over the case.
Sushant Singh Rajput's father accused his son's then girlfriend and actor Rhea Chakraborty and her family of cheating him financially and mentally harassing him, driving him to suicide.
The investigation eventually took a turn towards alleged drugs use. Ms Chakraborty was arrested in September 2020 by the Narcotics Control Bureau on charges of arranging drugs for the actor. She was released on bail a month later.
Hounded by conspiracy theorists, a section of the media and an avalanche of online hate, Ms Chakraborty has denied all charges made by Sushant Singh Rajput's father as "total nonsense".