Rhea Chakraborty remanded to 14-day judicial custody in drugs case; arrest sparks debate on social media

The drug case, in which Rhea has been arrested Tuesday, was not directly related to Sushant Singh Rajput's death. A separate investigation by the CBI is underway after Rajput's family's alleged that Rhea abetted his suicide

FP Staff September 08, 2020 23:35:02 IST
Rhea Chakraborty remanded to 14-day judicial custody in drugs case; arrest sparks debate on social media

Actor Rhea Chakraborty, the main accused in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, has been remanded to a 14-day judicial custody after the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested her in connection with a separate drugs case. A Mumbai court rejected her bail plea on Tuesday.

"Rhea has been arrested and due process of informing the family has been completed," NCB deputy director KPS Malhotra was quoted as saying by news agencies.

The drugs case, in which Rhea has been arrested today, was not directly related to Rajput's death. A separate investigation by the CBI is underway after Rajput's family's alleged that Rhea abetted the actor's suicide.

Rhea has been accused of  procuring and purchasing contraband substances, and being an "active member of a drugs syndicate".

Tuesday's arrest came after the NCB grilled Rhea for three consecutive days over Whatsapp chats and other evidence collected in the wake of Rajput's death indicated that both actors were purchasing and using drugs

However, the remand application filed by the agency made no mention of Rhea consuming any drugs.

NCB had recently arrested her brother Showik Chakraborty and Rajput's house manager Samuel Miranda on drugs supply charges. Both the accused had revealed in their statements that the couple had instructed them on multiple occassions to procure drugs for them, but all have indicated that Rajput was the primary user of the substances purchased by them.

Mainstream Bollywood silent on arrest, but Rhea finds some support

Meanwhile, Rhea's arrest stoked an already polarised debate around Rajput's death as several celebrities and citizens spoke out against the vitriolic media trial of Rhea; while many others who blame the actor for Rajput's death opined on social media that the arrest will lead to further revalations in the alleged suicide case.

Though mainstream Bollywood was mostly silent, directors Hansal Mehta, Anubhav Sinha, Alankrita Shrivastava and writer Atika Chohan were among those who reacted sharply to her arrest. Actors Taapsee Pannu, Tisca Chobra, Kubra Sait and Swara Bhasker also spoke up in Rhea's support.

Sinha, the director of films such as Mulk and Article 15 , simply asked mediapersons to "resign" and seek different employment avenues.

"If you still feel like a journalist, RESIGN. You won't die of hunger. You will discover new friends, opportunities and avenues," the director said in a scathing tweet.

Aligarh director Hansal Mehta was equally distressed.

"Not abetment of suicide, not money laundering, not murder? Now I know why marijuana is not legalised in India yet," he said.

Chohan, co-writer of Chhapaak, said the actor was being "incriminated" for the life choices of Sushant, her boyfriend.

"He engaged in drugs and suffered from mental illness. Why is this so difficult to accept? Why is a woman incriminated and called names for an adult man's life choice?" she tweeted.

In an acerbic tweet, Shrivastava said, "Excellent job, India! Enjoy the burning of the witch. And while we are at it we may as well get Sati back."

"And no, let's not lift a finger to stem any crimes against women. Let's dance wildly and applaud the fire," added the director of Lipstick Under My Burkha .

Sacred Games star Kubbra Sait said Rhea may have been arrested but she is "still not a murderer".

"May the universe give the parents of Rhea the strength through this devastating time. Arrested by NCB. Still not a murderer. #MediaCircus I wonder your conversations over your shaam ki chai (evening tea)," she said.

Hours before Rhea's arrest, producer Pritish Nandy pointed out how all the other charges against her had failed.

"All charges against Rhea have failed. Murder? No evidence. Abetment to murder? She wasn't there. Stealing Rs 15 crore? Sushant never got the money. What remains is drugs. None found on her. She's ready for a test. Who was it for? Obvious, na?#justiceforSushant #JusticeForRhea," Nandy tweeted.

He said if one wanted to find out "what killed" Sushant, they need to go back to the original charges.

"Harassment, humiliation in public, bullying. There are people in Bollywood who constantly ridiculed him. In this @kangna_official is right. You cannot survive Bollywood with a fragile mind," Nandy added.

Actor-comic Vir Das tweeted, "Reminder. Abuse legal drugs...like power."

However, not all reactions were critical of Rhea's arrest that has come after days of her being mobbed by camera crews.

Actor Ankita Lokhande, Sushant's former girlfriend and Pavitra Rishta co-star, said "justice" has been served.

"Nothing happens by chance, by fate. You create your own fate by your actions. That's karma," she shared a post on Twitter.

Rajput's sister Shweta Singh Kirti tweeted "#GodIsWithUs" after Rhea's arrest.

Actor Shekhar Suman also hailed Rhea's arrest, saying, "You sow so you shall reap."

BJP leader and singer Manoj Tiwari used the same words in his response. "What you sow, so shall you reap! Today's arrest teaches us that nobody can escape the consequences of wrongdoings! My prayers for the truth to unfold soon," he said on the social media platform.

Rajput, 34, was found dead at his Bandra apartment in Mumbai on 14 June.

Rhea's arrest resonates in poll-bound Bihar

Stray political reactions on such an emotive issue from Bihar — Rajput's native state which is also due for elections this year — were hard to ignore as the ruling parties linked Rhea's arrest to 'justice for Sushant".

Leaders from ruling NDA asserted that Rhea's arrest in the drugs case was "an important step" in the direction of securing justice for the Patna-born actor whose death has struck an emotional chord with the people of the state.

The JD(U)-BJP alliance also lambasted the actor for lodging a "baseless" FIR against the sisters of the deceased actor and questioned the "support" extended to her by the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra, for "reasons the Shiv Sena knows better".

"ED too has lodged a case against the actress and investigations seem to have opened a can of worms," BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand said in a statement.

He expressed confidence that the CBI will ultimately crack the case and ensure justice for the late actor.

JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said, "The CBI inquiry has virtually exposed the dark underbelly of Bollywood, including the close links between narcotics traders and celebrities."

He added that Rhea's FIR accusing the deceased actor's sisters of administering narcotics to him were ample proof that "she is rattled by the CBI inquiry and the consequences it may have for her given her suspected complicity".

LJP president Chirag Paswan tweeted: "NCB today arrested Rhea Chakraborty in a narcotics matter. This development would silence all those who had been standing in her support."

Paswan also added the #justiceforSushantSinghRajput.

Rhea has in recent TV interviews denied that she consumed drugs.

Apart from the drugs case, she is facing an abetment of suicide case in connection with Rajput's death which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing, and a related money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Rajput's father who accused Rhea of abetting his son's suicide had also claimed that she siphoned Rs 15 crore from his son's bank accounts. The ED has launched a probe into this aspect.

With inputs from PTI

A collection of Suicide prevention helpline numbers are available here. Please reach out if you or anyone you know is in need of support. The All-India helpline number is: 022 2754 6669

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