Sushant Singh Rajput case: Rakul Preet Singh moves Delhi high court against 'media trial' in drugs probe

Updated: 17 September, 2020 13:03 IST | mid-day online correspondent | New Delhi

Rakul Preet Singh submitted that media reports are being run in contravention with the guidelines of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry

Bollywood actor Rakul Preet Singh
Bollywood actor Rakul Preet Singh

Bollywood actor Rakul Preet Singh, whose name surfaced in drugs probe related to the investigation in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, approached Delhi high court on Thursday against ‘media trial’.

The actress, through her lawyer, submitted that media reports are being run in contravention with the guidelines of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry.

While passing these directions, the single judge bench said: "There has to be some restraint. Media gets to know info even before the officers themselves. Reputations are getting tarnished."

Justice Navin Chawla issued notice to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Prasar Bharti and the Press Council of India seeking their response over the petition filed by the Bollywood actor through advocates Aman Hingorani, Himanshu Yadav and Shweta Hingorani.

It also asked the central government, Prasar Bharti and the Press Council to treat the said petition as a representation and take decision expeditiously. The next hearing on the matter will be on October 15.

"It is hoped that media houses and TV channels would show restraint and abide by the Program Code and other guidelines while making any report in connection with Rakul Preet Singh," the bench added in its observation.

The plea filed by the actor claimed that she was shooting for a film in Telangana when she was stunned to see private TV channels, including some members of the News Broadcasters Association running "breaking news" from the evening of 11.9.2020 to the effect that the Petitioner, along with Actress Sara Ali Khan and Designer Simone Khambatta, have been named as the individuals who take drugs by Actress Rhea Chakraborty in the ongoing investigation by the Narcotics Control Bureau in Mumbai into the drug angle in the June 14 death of Sushant.

"The Petitioner categorically states that she does not take drugs at all, and has, to the best of her recollection, has only met Sara Ali Khan twice (once at IIFA Awards and once while working out in a gym) and has not met Simone Khambatta at all," the petition said.

Rakul Preet further stated that despite the fact that Rhea had already retracted her statement on 9.9.2020 as aforesaid, the private TV channels have continued since 11.9.2020 till date to run a slander campaign against her.

The petition has sought the court's direction in order to ask the media not to telecast, publish or circulate on the TV channels, cable, print or social media, as the case may be, any content in context of Actress Rhea Chakraborty's narcotic drugs case that maligns or slanders the Petitioner or which contains anything defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths in respect of the Petitioner, or to use sensational headlines, photographs, video-footage or social media links which invade the privacy of the Petitioner.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), investigating the drug angle in Sushant's death case, had confirmed that the names of actresses Sara Ali Khan and Rakul Preet Singh and designer Simone Khambatta surfaced in the probe and their roles are being investigated. Summons may be issued depending on how the investigation progresses.

The agency had earlier denied the celebrities being involved. NCB's Deputy Director KPS Malhotra confirmed, "The names of Rakul Preet Singh, Sara Ali Khan and Simone Khambatta have surfaced during the investigation."

The agency has so far arrested 16 accused in the case, including Rhea Chakraborty, her brother Showik Chakraborty, Sushant's house manager Samuel Miranda and house help Deepesh Sawant. NCB officials denied having prepared a list of 25 celebrities suspected to be connected to the case.

According to sources, Rhea mentioned these names in her statement to the NCB. Evidence gathered from Rhea's and Showik's mobile phones indicate that the celebs were using the services of drug peddlers.

(With inputs from agency)

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First Published: 17 September, 2020 12:40 IST

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