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Sushant-Rhea case: We are all part of a circus

Sushant-Rhea case: We are all part of a circus

Sushant Singh Rajput

For several weeks now, the obituary of tv news has been written by many media observers. The breathlessly sensational, ethically flawed and, at times, totally inane coverage of  actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic death is being seen as the last rites of  a medium in  seemingly terminal decline. But  is the maddening 24 x7 breaking news whirl – trapped in a vicious cycle of  ratings, revenues, hyper-competition and failed regulation – the sole entity that lies exposed by the theatre of  the absurd that the case has become?

Take the role of  the investigating agencies. When was the last time three of  the country’s top national agencies – the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) – were seen to invest so much time and energy in a single case involving the death of  an actor? Lakhs of  small depositors will struggle to get their monies back and ensure swift prosecution of  the guilty in the numerous financial scams across the country but the Sushant case has seen the agencies in overdrive. Only last month, the Bombay high court granted bail to DHFL promoters Wadhawan brothers, who are accused in the Yes Bank money laundering case because the ED failed to file their charge sheet within the statutory period of  60 days from their date of remand. In the Sushant case, the ED initiated a money laundering case against Sushant’s girlfriend, actor Rhea Chakraborty and her family based on an FIR filed by Sushant’s family in Bihar without even looking at the merits of  the case.  

The role of  the NCB is even more contentious. Based purely on WhatsApp conversations – selectively leaked initially by the ED – the NCB registers a case against Rhea and her brother and then seeks to broaden the investigations into inquiring into alleged drug