In a significant development, the names of Bollywood celebrities like Sara Ali Khan, Rakul Preet Singh and Simone Khambatta have apparently emerged in the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) probe into the drugs angle surrounding the mysterious death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Following this, Rakul Preet filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to be issued to Ministry of Information & Broadcast to stop the media barrage against her.
The hearing took place in the presence of single bench judge Justice Navin Chawla.
RPS cited the Programme Code and MIB guidelines to argue that media can't run hate campaigns.
“I got to know during a shoot that Rhea Chakraborty has named me and Sara Ali Khan for taking drugs, and the media started running a campaign against me,” she said through her lawyer.
She asked the court to de-register the channel for the slandering without knowing that Chakraborty retracted her statement.
“They're showing my morphed pictures and pictures from film sets to paint a narrative, to hound me, and link me to some sort of a drug gang. Media is harassing me; they're coming to my house. Please issue ad-interim direction to stop broadcasting of maligning and defamatory content against me. Media trials violate my right under Art 21 of the Constitution, court must interfere,” she argued.
What does the Article 21 say?
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law, nor shall any person be denied equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
The court asked Singh to file a complaint with the government.
Broadcasting Standards Authority directed the channel in question to issue an apology during the prime time, if they were running that news during the prime time.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma representing Union of India said, "There's Cable & TV regulation Act which provides the power to prohibit running hate campaigns. She has a right to assume that she's being harmed, it's a private right but she's seeking a blanket order. 'She's seeking a John Doe order'. CBI is already investigating the Rhea Chakraborty matter; media can report what's going on?"
The bench said that “There has to be some restraint. Media gets to know info even before the officers themselves. Reputations are getting tarnished."
Though NCB Deputy Director K.P.S. Malhotra confirmed the three names, he denied media speculation of the agency having prepared a so-called 'hit-list' of over two dozen Bollywood personalities in connection with the probe.
The NCB has not divulged details of specific aspects of the probe in which the names of these 3 Bollywood and glamour world celebs have come up or the extent of their alleged involvement in the narcotics investigation.
Rakul Preet Singh is a popular actress in the south film industry, who made her acting debut in the Kannada film Gilli (2009). In 2011 she participated in the Femina Miss India pageant.
She stepped into Bollywood in 2014 with the film 'Aiyaary'. However, she became a known face after being featured in the films 'De De Pyaar De' and 'Marjaavaan'.
In 2017, she was appointed the brand ambassador for Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao programme by Telangana State Government.
Rakul Preet grabbed eyeballs for her role as late actress Sridevi in the 2019 film 'NTR: Kathanayakudu', a Telugu-language biographical film, based on the real life and acting career of N. T. Rama Rao.
Her upcoming films include 'Attack' with John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez and a south flick 'Ayalaan'.