New Delhi: Several TV news channels spent their Wednesday prime time slot consumed by the Narcotics Control Bureau’s summons to actors Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Rakul Preet Singh and Shraddha Kapoor for their alleged possession of drugs. China’s surveillance and the ‘script’ of the Delhi riots in February also found mention. And in the absence of lead anchor Arnab Goswami, Republic TV also took a break from Bollywood — anchors Rhythm and Niranjan spoke about how nine lakh PMC depositors were “robbed of their livelihood and their money”.
Times Now’s Navika Kumar defended herself against those who criticised her method of presenting ‘proof’ against Bollywood actors on the basis of WhatsApp chats. “Several B-town A-listers targeted me and abused me on social media. But today, I would like to tell them just one thing. You don’t want to answer my question, that’s fine. You don’t want me to reveal why you wanted maal — weed and hash — that’s also fine. But now that the law has finally caught up with you there’s no choice but to sit at the NCB office for hours and explain your actions to them,” she crowed.
She added self-righteously, “You can joke about WhatsApp chats, make as many memes. But, the fact is I was reporting these facts because it was my dharma as journalist to put out the facts in public domain.”
On India Today, Rajdeep Sardesai saw parallels with an earlier case: “The fact is film stars are role models, as are sportspersons. You might recall when match-fixing existed 20 years ago, cricketers were targeted. Now, the manner in which the drug case has played out, everyone has forgotten the Sushant case which is one of the biggest ironies.”
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “I would say don’t destroy your icons. If they are guilty, go punish them but don’t have media trials, don’t do blood sports on your TV channels.”
Khera then talked about how India deserves better, saying, “[I] don’t think that the country is foolish enough to get busy in all this entertainment that you’re trying to sponsor”, to which Sardesai had nothing to say.
On Aaj Tak‘s ‘Dangal’, anchor Rohit Sardana asked how many from Bollywood could be associated with the drug scandal and who is the “biggest fish”.
Actor Mukesh Rishi first quickly clarified that despite being a part of Bollywood, he had never consumed drugs and doesn’t endorse it. “However, I want that the truth should come out”.
BJP spokesperson Prem Shukla said that no matter who is in power, those accused of consuming drugs should come forward and help break the chain of drug peddlers.
News18 India‘s Amish Devgan stayed away from Bollywood and said, “Today is the day to understand the chronology of the Delhi riots”. He alleged that the ‘script’ of the riots was written right after the 2019 Lok Sabha election and the riots were planned to take revenge on Prime Minister Modi.
Devgan then showed some WhatsApp chats to ‘prove’ his claim. Some of these groups also included students from the Jamia Millia Islamia University, he proclaimed.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said he is not surprised at all as everyone is aware of “these people’s” [the Opposition’s] modus operandi. “Even PM Modi said that this was not organic, but organised. I will call it terrorism and not riots because riots aren’t planned, but terrorist attacks are”.
And on TV9 Bharatvarsh, anchor Gaurav Agrawal discussed China’s reported surveillance of thousands of Indians.
Defence expert Lt Gen Sanjay Kulkarni declared that India will have to fight China through unrestricted warfare forever.
Former envoy Vivek Katju said India is also signalling China, which is very important. Signalling indicates a nation’s willpower, said Katju.