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Battle for SSR: How different media channels put out conflicting reports about AIIMS report and how one doctor is at the heart of it

"Everyone doubted when CBI started its investigation. We investigated all doubts and then came with this opinion. Now, there should be no doubts. It was a seven-member team of doctors who came to this conclusion that SSR died by suicide", India Today had cited AIIMS' Dr Sudhir Gupta.

The Sushant Singh Rajput case has taken a new turn, ever since the shocking revelation by AIIMS forensic expert Dr Sudhir Gupta has been ‘leaked’ to the media. Dr Sudhir, who was tasked to examine the post-mortem and viscera reports of the deceased actor, allegedly concluded that it was a case of suicide. “Sushant’s death is a case of suicide. Murder completely ruled out,” Dr Sudhir Gupta claimed on October 3 as per an India Today report.

Speculations have been rife on social media about the ‘possible murder angle’ in the sensational case. Following the revelation of Dr Gupta, different news channels have been publishing contradictory reports about his present claims and past statements to the media.

Times Now does not air ‘leaked audio tape’

On Monday, Times Now claimed that they are in possession of ‘leaked audiotape’ wherein Dr Sudhir had allegedly said that Sushant Singh Rajput was murdered. The news channel emphasised how the AIIMS doctor initially ruled out the ‘suicide theory’ after looking at the photographs of the deceased body of the actor. While Times Now did not telecast the audio clip, which formed the crux of their report, they, however, pointed out the contradiction between the observations and statements made by Dr Sudhir Gupta, in connection to the case.

Times Now contradicts its own ‘unleaked’ audio tape

Just half an hour later, Times Now published another report wherein in it claimed that not just Sudhir Gupta but the entire panel of 7 senior doctors have reached the conclusion that Sushant’s death was a case of suicide. Citing sources from AIIMS, the news channel then proceeded to dismiss its own ‘audio tape’ which indicated ‘U-turn’ of Dr Sudhir Gupta. As per the said report, Times Now claimed that even though the AIIMS doctors initially doubted ‘foul play’, the examination of all medical reports had put all speculations to rest.

Earlier, the news channel had asked those who raked up ‘murder theory’ to ‘introspect‘ while conveniently forgetting that they were at the forefront of peddling the murder angle for months.

India Today dismisses claims of U-turn

Meanwhile, India Today, which has been dismissing any ‘foul play’ in the unnatural death of Sushant Singh Rajput from the very onset, has been firm on its claims. The news channel was one of the first to claim that the ‘murder angle’ was ruled out by Dr Sudhir Gupta.

In line with their narrative, India Today published a report on Monday titled, ‘Dr Sudhir Gupta shares crucial facts on Sushant Singh Rajput death AIIMS report: 8 points’. The channel also published a statement of Dr Sudhir wherein he justified his U-turn. He opined, “Yes, everyone doubted when CBI started its investigation. We investigated all doubts and then came with this opinion. Now, there should be no doubts. It was a seven-member team of doctors who came to this conclusion that SSR died by suicide.”

This is not the first time that India Today has attempted to dismiss aspersions surrounding the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. Earlier, it had interviewed accused Rhea Chakraborty to assert that Sushant Singh Rajput was depressed, took drugs and committed suicide.

Screengrab of the India Today report

Republic Tv airs exclusive telephonic conversation, questions Gupta’s statement

Republic Tv, which has been consistently covering the developments in the case, has aired a telephonic conversation between the AIIMS doctor and one of its journalists on August 22. Dr Sudhir had highlighted that the crime scene, in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, was contaminated.

He had said that contrary to the usual police investigation, Mumbai Police did not keep the crime scene ‘intact’. Expressing ‘surprise’ over the contamination of the crime scene, he had insinuated that it was the ‘destruction of evidence’. Republic Tv questioned, “If the evidence preserved for the investigation was ‘unsuitable’, then, how did Dr Sudhir Gupta rule out the murder theory?”

Amidst the contradictory reports and distinct narratives peddled by different news channels following Dr Sudhi’s claims, the case of Sushant’s death has become even murkier. Meanwhile, Vikas Singh, the lawyer for Sushant Singh Rajput’s family, has demanded the constitution of a new AIIMS panel, following the U-turn by the doctor.

Sushant Singh Rajput’s death

Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his apartment building on 14th June 2020. While initial reports suggested death by suicide, family members later alleged foul play. Following that, the CBI was asked to take over the investigation. The investigations into the case opened up the alleged drug abuse problem involving several Bollywood celebrities and their suppliers in the film industry. Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea, her brother Showik and many others are currently under custody for alleged drug peddling, procurement and usage. The NCB had taken up the investigation into the drug angle after chats of Rhea were leaked, indicating that she was buying illegal substances.

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