Discordant notes: Arbitrariness has come to dominate the Sushant case. No one emerges untainted
Rohit Kumar, Editor: The politicization of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic death shows no sign of ebbing with governments, multiple investigating agencies and hysteric TV anchors dominating a maddening circus. A genuine outpouring of emotion for Sushant from ordinary people roiled by lockdowns has been repurposed for distraction and dangerous overreach. Two actresses, Rhea Chakraborty and Kangana Ranaut are now entangled in the political crosshairs. One is being pursued by central agencies and the other fears retribution by Shiv Sena, Mumbai police and BMC. Besides the CBI investigation into Sushant’s death, Rhea has faced an ED probe on allegations of siphoning off Sushant’s money and was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau for alleged weed purchase, among other claims.
The multi-agency probe into death by suicide reveals central government’s keen interest. Accepting “severe stress” as a cause, it had rightly decriminalized attempt to suicide in 2017. But recognising this causative factor puts the abetment to suicide charge in the hazy territory. So the crush of central agencies like NCB in a disputable case does raise questions. If Sushant died by hanging as the postmortem report indicates and reportedly struggled with depression, the NCB probe appears a foray into peripheral matters. Allegations of marijuana use are just as inconclusive. Criminalizing cannabis was an act of over-legislation 35 years ago ignoring traditions and widely prevalent usage.
Kangana’s victimization is no less absurd. Shiv Sena hasn’t taken kindly to her open defiance of its leaders. A suspiciously timed BMC notice over unauthorized construction follows her claims of death threats. Centre has taken up cudgels on her behalf, offering prized Y+ security. Sena-led MVA and BJP ranged on either side and two actresses in the crossfire, a badly scripted political drama are playing out when a pandemic and economic crisis demands close collaboration between the Centre and opposition ruled states.
Bihar elections also cast their long shadow. Nitish Kumar, once a politician who loved to tout his governance record, is harping on justice for Sushant. Supreme Court entrusted the Sushant probe to CBI three weeks ago. Ultimately, only the findings of this investigation will and must matter, not the machinations of political parties or hyperventilating anchors. Allowing the case and its innumerable conspiracy theories and political subplots to drift interminably will hurt the credibility of all who play unsavoury roles. Because we will end up ruing how much-needed, calm and measured conversations about nepotism, mental illness, public health and economic recession were hijacked and diverted.