Actor Rhea Chakraborty outside Narcotics Control Bureau in Mumbai | By special arrangement | ThePrint
Actor Rhea Chakraborty outside Narcotics Control Bureau in Mumbai, on 8 September 2020 | By special arrangement | ThePrint
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New Delhi: From NDTV 24×7 to Times Now and Zee News, prime time debates Monday were preoccupied with actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide case, yet again.

Kangana Ranaut, who has also become a staple subject on news channels, was a topic of discussion after she was provided ‘Y+’ category security by the central government. This comes after she had a very public spat with Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut over her comments that compared Mumbai to “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”.

Ravish Kumar on NDTV India was, perhaps, the only one who moved away from the Bollywood drama to talk about rising unemployment in the country and also the increasing number of suicide cases due to depression. He noted that 165 people had died by suicide in only Noida.

However, the channel’s English counterpart, NDTV 24×7, joined the Sushant Singh Rajput bandwagon with a debate on ‘Rhea vs SSR family’, after actor Rhea Chakraborty filed an FIR against Rajput’s family for leaking her WhatsApp chats to the media.

Political analyst Vikas Gupta said, “I think there has been a delay in registering this complaint. This should have been filed the day it surfaced on social media…And I support this because all along it has been a witch-hunt not only by the family and lawyers but also a section of the media.”

Anchor Aman Chopra on Zee News was armed with a ‘big exposé’ on the probe into Rajput’s suicide.

“AIIMS is conducting a viscera test of Sushant Singh Rajput to check for poisoning. Was he poisoned? This is today’s big news”, shouted Chopra.

In a viscera test, the internal organs of a body, especially heart, lungs, liver and intestines, are tested thoroughly.

Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Gupta pointed out that the Narcotics Central Bureau — the agency that deals with drug-related cases — comes under the home ministry and said that its officers should be suspended for not making this ‘poisoning’ connection earlier.

“Where were they doing before? What were they waiting for?”, asked Gupta.

Actor Manvi Taneja became a forensic expert for the debate and claimed that this was not a clear-cut suicide case.

“When someone hangs themselves, the mark on the neck is downwards but this was not the case here”, said Taneja.

On CNN News 18‘s ‘Brass Tracks with Zakka Jacob’, the debate focused on Kangana Ranaut’s ‘Y+’ security. Ranaut is the first actor to receive this category of security.

“The best thing for the (Maharashtra) government would have been to keep quiet and let Kangana Ranaut do whatever she wants to”, said senior lawyer Swapnil Kothari.

“I don’t think the threat has got any substantive significance, it has not been issued by the government but by a party functionary. The whole Kangana Ranaut matter I think is rhetoric in nature”, said Y.P. Singh, former additional police commissioner, Mumbai.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had called Ranaut “haramkhor ladki” after her comments on Mumbai surfaced. However, Raut later said it was not a threat and “haramkhor” in Marathi means ‘dishonest’.

But Jacob did not agree with his panelists — “Sir, ruling party members are threatening her with sedition, women workers of the Shiv Sena are threatening to protest outside her house, the BMC is suddenly showing up at her house threatening to demolish it because of a building permit that was issued five years ago. Come on! Who are we kidding!”

On Aaj Tak, Rohit Sardana also chose to focus on Ranaut. “The matter has now become all about Shiv Sena vs BJP,” Sardana said.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said he was not surprised by the announcement.

“Those who further the agenda of the Modi government, are given ‘Y’ or ‘Z’ type security. NCB should interrogate Kangana as she is said to be involved in the drug connection as well,” he said. All politicians are obsessed with Bollywood’s drug probe, it seems.

Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam alleged that the Uddhav Thackeray government was trying to save those accused of abetting Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide by targeting people like Ranaut.

He also made a rather contradictory statement — “We don’t support Kangana’s controversial statements but when she talks about national interest, and her safety is in danger, either the state or the central government should provide security”.

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