Rhea claims confession was coerced

Actress Rhea Chakraborty has claimed in her bail application that she was coerced into making self-incriminating confessions while in custody.

Rhea, who was late actor Sushant Singh Rajput's girlfriend, was arrested on Tuesday by the Narcotics Central Bureau (NCB) after being charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

It is alleged that she has a role in the drugs angle that has emerged during investigation into the June 14 death of Sushant.

In a 20-page bail application, the Bollywood actress stated that she is "innocent and has not committed any crime whatsoever". Rhea added: "The applicant has been falsely implicated."

Her application also stated that no drugs or psychotropic substances were seized from her and "the allegations, if any, would pertain strictly to small quantities".

"There is not a shred of evidence to connect the applicant with financing any illicit traffic or harbouring any offenders," the application read.

Rhea, who has has been remanded in judicial custody until Sept 22, also claimed that, while in custody, she was coerced into "making self-incriminatory confessions".

"That by her application dated 8 September 2020, the applicant has formally retracted all such incriminatory confessions," it added.

Rhea's lawyer Satish Maneshinde has called the arrest "a travesty of justice". The actress has been arrested for allegedly buying drugs for Sushant, whose death has sparked a media storm in India.

The 34-year-old actor was found dead in his Mumbai apartment - with the police saying he took his own life.

A star with many hit movies to his name, his death initially triggered a debate over his mental health in the multi-billion-dollar industry.

But Sushant's family disputed reports that he suffered from depression and accused Rhea, 28, of stealing his money and harassing him. She has strongly denied the allegations.

Subsequently, there were allegations that a Bollywood mafia, led by prominent directors, producers and actors, worked to sabotage his career, which forced him to take his own life in disappointment.

"It is really sad that it is 2020 and in India I am still having to pay this price today just because I'm in his life, I loved him and lived with him," Rhea told News 18 last month.

According to a court document, the pair lived together, although a few days before Sushant's death, Rhea moved to her own Mumbai residence.

India's top anti-crime agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has been probing Sushant's death since last month.

The police have also detained nine others in connection with the case, including Rhea's brother and a member of Sushant's house staff.

The NCB is looking into Sushant's consumption of cannabis and those who procured it for him. The investigation has grabbed headlines for months, with the media closely following the back-and-forth allegations between Sushant's family and Rhea.

Some Bollywood celebrities including actress Sonam Kapoor and director Anurag Kashyap accused TV channels of carrying out a "witch hunt" against Rhea.

But the coverage has often become sensationalist, with unverified conspiracy theories and allegations given air time on nationwide newscasts.

Rhea has borne the brunt of the media circus. In a television interview late last month, she said: "There has been a conspiracy to break me and my family and my spirit. It is the systematic breakdown of an innocent family, an innocent girl who loved an innocent boy."

Last Sunday, she was jostled by a pack of journalists as she tried to enter a narcotics department office in Mumbai, where the police struggled to disperse the crowd.

The CBI said earlier this month that it is conducting the investigation in a "systematic and professional way" and "certain media reports attributed to CBI investigation are speculative and not based on facts".

Indo-Asian News Service

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