“D = Deepika Padukone”: Dear “Investigative Journos”, Leave the Probe to the Narcotics Bureau

Bollywood

“D = Deepika Padukone”: Dear “Investigative Journos”, Leave the Probe to the Narcotics Bureau

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

As the apparent drug habits of Bollywood stars become the crux of the investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput death probe and continues to make prime-time headlines, another popular actress’s name has emerged. This time, it’s Deepika Padukone who will be reportedly summoned for questioning by the NCB, for WhatsApp chats that apparently show she asked for “maal”.

The message, as reported by news channels on Monday, was said to be sent to a “K”. Some channels say this is Padukone’s manager Karishma Prakash.

The “investigative journalists” sitting in their newsrooms were quick to conclude that the “D” who asks “maal hai kya” in the WhatsApp chat is Deepika Padukone.

Padukone is the latest name to be dragged into the case, which has already seen the arrests of actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik. It’s also thrown up names of actors like Rakul Preet Singh, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor.

Immediately after the speculation began, actor Kangana Ranaut — who has been at the forefront of this campaign against Bollywood — took to Twitter to mock Padukone for her recent posts on mental health. She called Padukone a “so-called high society rich star child” and made yet another irresponsible remark: “Repeat after me, depression is a consequence of drug abuse”.

The report went on to led to a heated debate on social media, with many claiming that more important stories — related to farmers, Covid-19, and the GDP — were being ignored in favour of a WhatsApp message that Deepika Padukone apparently sent.

There have also been claims that the investigation is turning political once again, considering Padukone had shown her support for protesting JNU students earlier this year, after meeting with the head of a student body, Aishe Ghosh.

Recently filmmaker Anurag Kashyap was accused of harassment by actor Payal Ghosh. The fact that he’s known for often being critical of the government was also construed by some as a targeted campaign against dissenting Bollywood personalities. A number of actors have spoken out in favour of Kashyap since, calling the allegations against him false.

Either way, as most mainstream news channels continue to target anyone they believe to have consumed drugs, and connect it to Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic death, maybe it’s time they leave the actual investigation to the Narcotics Control Bureau. With farmers protesting across the country and coronavirus cases continuing to pile up, clearly, there’s enough to discuss.

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