The Narcotics Control Bureau arrested starlet Rhea Chakraborty recently not for killing actor Sushant Singh Rajput or causing his death otherwise but for procuring and being in possession of contraband. However, the media narrative and the mass hysteria that followed the arrest suggests as though the agencies have cracked the case of this mysterious death in Bollywood. Simultaneously, the spar between actress Kangana Ranaut and the Shiv Sena, which leads the government also comprising the Nationalist Congress Party and the Indian National Congress, is playing out at the cost of the most important quest: Who and what killed Sushant? Those who are congratulating the fiery actress from Himachal Pradesh may recall that, until the case went to the CBI, she was harping on nepotism, which is unethical but not a crime, on Arnab Goswami’s platform Republic TV. More worryingly, the conjecture that a lobby had squeezed Sushant out of job in the industry lends credence to the depression and suicide narratives. On the other hand, while the likes of Chakraborty, her brother Showik, ‘friend’ Sandeep Ssingh, house manager Samuel Miranda, flat-mate Siddharth Pithani, alleged drug peddler Zaid Vilatra, hotelier and suspected drug peddler Gourav Arya and all might have been cogs in the wheel, it is surprising why the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate are not sharing information with the media as zealously as the NCB is. The nation has always been aware of the underbelly of the Hindi film industry raving on narcotic substances. Why this ado about nothing? Where is this leading the people to? Will the nation be told now that Sushant was killed because he had busted a drug cartel or because he couldn’t pay for what he had consumed? What a charade!
It is fashionable these days to curse the media, but reporters on the crime and entertainment beats might not be getting anything on the money trail that is suspected to go up to Dubai or the question whether Sushant had been murdered, probably in the night of 13 June while the users of his phone following his death were creating alibis until the police arrived in the afternoon of the 14th. The name of no big fish either from Bollywood or from the section of the polity that hobnobs with the shady characters from the tinsel town have surfaced in the course of the CBI or ED investigation so far. So has the union government instructed these agencies to go slow on the probe into the nexus or is the government of Maharashtra creating hurdles in the work of the sleuths and, surprisingly nevertheless, neither agency is crying foul, unlike Bihar Police that had raised a din when its officer was quarantined? The second does not seem likely. That leads one to just one possibility, the third, that the CBI and ED have got nothing to doubt Mumbai Police’s narrative of suicide.
The first two possibilities are not, it must be insisted, conspiracy theories. Before the CBI took over the case — following the FIR by the father of Sushant in Patna and the clash of the police forces of Maharashtra and Bihar in the Supreme Court culminating in the apex court’s order on 19 August — private detectives had painstakingly joined the dots, much as their findings do not have legal sanctity. The panel of forensic detectives from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences is still working on the viscera of Sushant even as a doctor from the team has put on record that the ligature mark around the neck of the late actor’s corpse did not suggest hanging. Further, surely if the CBI had found nothing on reconstructing the crime scene, it would have made an announcement to that effect by now. So, what’s the game?