The first is Aryan Khan, the 23-year-old son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who was arrested on early Sunday morning for allegedly doing recreational drugs at a party.
The second is Ashish Mishra, the son of India’s junior home minister, who is accused of ordering his driver to plough his vehicle into a group of protesting farmers, resulting in deaths and injuries.
Both Khan and Mishra have denied the allegations against them, and the two cases are not linked in any way.
But the manner in which the two young men have been treated by law enforcement, and the huge media attention paid to Khan’s case, has led some to question the agenda of some of the press, and accuse certain stations of trying to “tarnish Bollywood”.
The ‘drug bust’
Khan was taken off a cruise ship that was on its way from Mumbai – the city where his family live – to the tourist paradise of Goa. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which arrested him along with several others, said they were detained under laws “related to possession, consumption and sale of illegal substances”. The 23-year-old was remanded into custody until 7 October.
Analysts said, based on Khan’s arrest papers, that the drug yield was likely so small that there was really no reason to keep him in custody. His lawyer Satish Manshinde strongly denied the accusations. He told the magistrate at the bail hearing on Sunday that Khan had been “screened twice when he boarded the cruise” and that “no contraband had been found on him” and there was “no evidence that he had consumed any drugs”.
Protests, runaway car and deaths
The second incident involved Ashish Mishra, son of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministerial colleague Ajay Mishra, after a car from their motorcade allegedly ploughed into a group of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Altogether, eight people were killed. Farm unions said two protesters died when they were run over, two others who were injured later succumbed in the hospital, and three BJP workers and the driver were beaten to death by a mob of protesters