TIME TO WEED OUT THE LIES
By Siddhartha Tripathy
Digging deeper into Bollywood starlet Rhea Chakraborty’s Bhubaneswar connection may help unearth more truths about the Sushant Singh Rajput death mystery
Bhubaneswar, historically known as the Temple City of Odisha, has always been a cultural capital of eastern India. In the current millennium, under the able leadership of five-time Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the city has emerged as one of the most promising IT hubs of the country. It has repeatedly featured among the best performing smart cities of the world, ranked on the basis of health, safety, mobility and productivity.
And after years of successfully hosting top national and international sporting events – such as the Men's Hockey World Cup (2018), Asian Athletics Championships (2017), Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships, FIH Hockey World League (2017), Asia Rugby Women's Championship (2018), Men's Hockey Champions Trophy (2014), just to name a few – Bhubaneswar has earned its distinction as the sports capital of India.
While Odisha has led other states in the nation’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, its capital city has been the epicentre of its efforts to slow the spread and soften the blow of the deadly virus. Also, all the planning that has gone into making cyclone-prone Odisha get recognition – from the United Nations, no less – as a global leader in disaster management and risk reduction, has happened in Bhubaneswar. So it will not be wrong to count the city among the disaster management capitals of the world.
However, Bollywood starlet Rhea Chakraborty – the girlfriend of late star Sushant Singh Rajput and one of the prime suspects in his mysterious death case – seems to have promoted this beautiful city in quite a different way: As the cannabis capital of the world.
In one of her deleted Whatsapp messages that were recently accessed and broadcasted by English news channel Times Now, Rhea – during her visit to Bhubaneswar as part of IPL promotions – had told her friend Simone Khambatta this: “Dude, Bhubaneswar is the scene ... Best weed ever.”
Given her high level of familiarity with drugs such as marijuana, hash, bud and ecstasy (as revealed from separately retrieved messages that were exchanged between Rhea and other people) and considering that the Narcotics Control Bureau has already filed an FIR against her on those grounds, Rhea’s high praise for Bhubaneswar cannabis must not be taken lightly.
Therefore, it is very important to dig deeper into her Bhubaneswar visit and find answers to a few questions: Where did she stay in the city? For how long? Where did she go apart from those IPL promotional events? And more importantly, with whom did she spend time with during her stay here?
Odisha’s association with cannabis is no secret.
According to a survey conducted last year by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, titled “Magnitude of Substance Use in India 2019”, the state has the third-highest prevalence of cannabis use in India. With 4.7% of its population being users, Odisha is only behind Sikkim (7.3%) and barely behind Nagaland. With police teams both within its borders and beyond seizing tens of tons of cannabis annually, Odisha has topped the country as the state which sees the maximum seizures of cannabis, as well as the state that is the highest supplier of weed. The Odisha government has done an admirable job of sniffing out and destroying illegal cultivation of cannabis in remote areas of districts such as Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Boudh and Kandhamal.
However, more information about Rhea’s activities in Bhubaneswar may well unearth important clues that can help find much-needed justice for Rajput and his family.