Tearing Bollywood Haze

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Official agencies must do an impartial probe in Sushant Singh Rajput’s case

A team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has concluded that Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput was not murdered but died by suicide. The AIIMS team of six members has ruled out the two theories – poisoning and strangulation – that were advanced by the family of the late actor and others seeking justice for him. The AIIMS panel’s findings should set at rest the notions that were sought to be created over a tragic incident. Ever since the young and promising actor was found hanging in his apartment, suspicions and theories have been multiplying regarding his death. As the report of AIIMS panel emerged the Mumbai police were quick to say that they stood vindicated. The Mumbai police which probed the case initially had concluded that it was a case of suicide based on the circumstantial evidence collected by the probing team. Following speculations and campaign in the name of justice the case was handed over by the Supreme Court to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Though suicides by celebrities have very tragically occurred in the past, the death of Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14 was perhaps the first of its kind that drew national and international attention with allegations that he was murdered by his girlfriend Rhea Chakravarty. It was also alleged by the “justice seekers” that Mumbai police were trying to hush up the crime as suicide. With murder ruled out, the CBI has to investigate the charge of abetment to suicide that was registered first by the Bihar police. With the AIIMS panel having completed the probe and closed the file after giving conclusive medico-legal opinion in the case, the CBI will now have to corroborate the report with their investigation. As the CBI started the probe it sought the help of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory to carry out forensic examination of the crime scene for any evidence of foul play in the death. Though over 45 days have passed since the help of CFSL was sought no report has come out so far.

The death of Rajput has, however, opened a can of worms. It has been widely alleged that use of narcotic drugs was common in Bollywood. It has emerged that the deceased actor was a drug addict and used his friends and staff to procure drugs. He was also on medication for mental ailment and wanted a quick fix to his problems. As the CBI took over the probe into the case, it roped in the services of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to probe the charge of money laundering and drug abuse. While the ED did not find any substance of money laundering, the NCB has arrested Rhea and her brother along with several others for part of being a drug syndicate. With murder ruled out, the CBI is left to probe the main charge levelled by the family of late actor in its complaint with the Bihar police that his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty was mentally harassing, medicating and exploiting him for money and thereby played a role in abetting his death.

Nevertheless, the CBI must proceed with professional expertise to make an impartial investigation and come out with a report that does not leave any room for doubts regarding the cause of the death. The notion that drug abuse was common in the film industry has been prevalent for a long time, but it was only after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death that the anti-drug agencies stepped in to act in this regard. Criminalities are prevalent in all walks of life; however, thanks to the ineffective enforcement of the laws, most of those involved in crimes go unpunished. There is complicity of the enforcement officials in the first place; then there are weaknesses in detection and prosecution; and finally there are laws, primarily made for protecting the presumably innocent, that work to the advantage of hardened criminals, allowing them to get off on bail or with light punishment. What makes the situation worse is the politicisation of crime and criminalisation of politics.  Let us hope there is no politicisation in tracking the cause in Sushant Singh Rajput’s case and busting the drug networks of Bollywood.