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Delhi HC Directs Centre To File Report In Rakul Preet Singh's Plea Seeking Interim Direction Restraining Media From Reporting On Her NCB Investigation

Karan Tripathi
29 Sep 2020 6:42 AM GMT
Delhi HC Directs Centre To File Report In Rakul Preet Singhs Plea Seeking Interim Direction Restraining Media From Reporting On Her NCB Investigation
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Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea moved by actress Rakul Preet Singh an "urgent ad interim direction" restraining the media from reporting on the Bollywood Drug Mafia case, so far as she is concerned. The Single Bench of Justice Navin Chawla has further directed the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Union of India, and other regulatory authorities to submit a...

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Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea moved by actress Rakul Preet Singh an "urgent ad interim direction" restraining the media from reporting on the Bollywood Drug Mafia case, so far as she is concerned.

The Single Bench of Justice Navin Chawla has further directed the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Union of India, and other regulatory authorities to submit a status report stating steps taken by them in pursuance of court's last order.

The actress has stated that the "slander campaign" being run by the media against her has done irreparable damage to her and her family, has largely invaded her right to privacy and has even affected her commercial interests, adversely.

She has alleged that despite the High Court order urging the media to exercise restraint in their reports in this case, the news channels continue to air fake news, that malign and defame her.

Few of the many instances of such alleged fake reports, as claimed by the actress, are listed below:

1) It is alleged that on September 23, the media falsely reported that she was summoned by the NCB on the 24th of the month.

Excerpts from the plea:

The Petitioner was shocked to see media reports in the evening of 23.9.2020 to the effect that the Narcotics Control Bureau, Mumbai has summoned her to appear before it in Mumbai in the morning of 24.9.2020 in connection with the ongoing investigation in the Rhea Chakraborty's narcotic drugs case.

That the Petitioner had received no such summons from the NCB at either of her Hyderabad or Mumbai addresses, and accordingly she remained in Hyderabad.

From the evening of 23.9.2020 itself, the media started running fake news to the effect that the Petitioner, who was in Hyderabad, had supposedly reached Mumbai on the evening of 23.9.2020 for the NCB investigation.

The media reporters collected outside the Petitioner's then empty residence in Mumbai in the morning of 24.9.2020, and broadcasted fake news that the Petitioner was holed up inside and "evading" the NCB summons.

The Petitioner took the flight from Hyderabad to Mumbai on the evening of 24.9.2020, which was heavily covered by the media, thereby falsifying its earlier coverage of her having reached Mumbai on the evening of 23.9.2020 and supposedly hiding in her residence to dodge the NCB.

2) It is alleged that the media wrongly reported that the NCB had raided her Mumbai residence.

Excerpts from the plea:

The Petitioner's father reached the Mumbai residence of the Petitioner. The NCB officers visited the said premises on 24.9.2020 at about 1.30 pm to serve the Summons dated 24.9.2020, which were duly received by the Petitioner's father with endorsement that he was accepting the summons on behalf of the Petitioner who was in Hyderabad.

This visit of the NCB officers to serve the summons was run as a fake news by the media now claiming that the NCB had "raided" the Mumbai residence of the Petitioner after alleged "attempt to misguide' and joining probe late, under the tag line "Bollywood Cleanup".

3) It is alleged that the media falsely reported that she exchanged drugs with actress Rhea Chakraborty.

Excerpts from the plea:

Rhea Chakraborty had left her pouch by mistake at the Petitioner's residence, which, as per the Petitioner's understanding as a non-smoker, contained Rhea's Chakraborty's rolled tobacco cigarette.

Rhea Chakraborty asked the Petitioner to carry it when they were to meet next, but the Petitioner was busy shooting for a film and forgot.

On 22.9.2018, when the Petitioner was at a shoot, she got a whatsapp text from Rhea Chakraborty as to whether she has a "doobs", to which the Petitioner said "no", and said that it was at her place. This solitary reference to a 'doobs" on 22.9.2018 was nothing but mere rolled tobacco cigarette and not any banned substance, and that too, of Rhea Chakraborty.

The media reported that the Petitioner has supposedly confessed to the NCB that "Rhea Chakraborty would get drugs sent to her house" or that "Rhea wanted to take back her drugs back". The Petitioner denies that she made any such statement.

4) It is alleged that the media falsely reported that she implicated Dharma Productions' employee, Kshitij Prasad.

Excerpts from the plea:

The media reported that the Petitioner has supposedly made claims on the role of Dharma employee, Kshitij Prasad to the effect that he regularly procured drugs, supplied drugs to several celebrities, gave drugs to at least 4 stars, and had approached the Petitioner to be his conduit.

The Petitioner denies making any such statement or even 'naming' or 'implicating' any Kshitji Prasad as falsely reported. The Petitioner does not even know any Kshitji Prasad.

In the backdrop of these allegations, Rakul Preet has submitted,

"It is settled law that the media, even otherwise, ought not to act in a manner that is likely to hamper or interfere with a criminal investigation or cause undue publicity to a witness in such investigation. The Petitioner is entitled to a restraint order against the Respondents to ensure that the offending programmes and write ups pertaining to the allegations which are pending before the NCB in the criminal investigation are not broadcast, published, printed or circulated since the same may result in interference with the administration of justice and would be against the principle of fair trial or open justice."

The actress is represented by Advocates Dr. Aman Hingorani, Dr. Shweta Hingorani and Himanshu Yadav.

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