Sunday, September 20, 2020

Rhea appears before NCB for questioning in drugs case

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Mumbai: Actress Rhea Chakraborty on Sunday appeared before the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) here for questioning in the drugs case linked to the death of her live-in partner and actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

The 28-year-old arrived at the agency’s office in the Ballard Estate area at 12 noon.

She was escorted by police personnel.

The agency has said it wants to question Rhea, the main accused in the death case, to take the probe forward in the case.

A team of the agency had early morning visited her home to serve summons to her for joining the probe, officials said.

A team led by NCB joint director Sameer Wankhede had visited Rhea’s house located in Santa Cruz (west) area accompanied by local police and some women personnel.

The team left after visiting her flat.

The agency has said it also wants to confront Rhea with Showik, Miranda and Sawant in order to ascertain their individual roles in this alleged drug racket after it obtained mobile phone chat records and other electronic data that suggested some banned drugs were allegedly being procured by these people.

Rhea, in interviews given to multiple TV news channels, has said that she has never consumed drugs herself.

She had, however, claimed that the late actor used to consume marijuana.

The NCB, over the last two days, has arrested her younger brother Showik Chakraborty (24), Rajput’s house manager Samuel Miranda (33) and Dipesh Sawant, a member of the actor’s personal staff, in this case.

It is claimed that Miranda told NCB investigators that he used to procure bud or curated marijuana for the late actor’s household.

Sawant was arrested on Saturday and he is expected to be produced by the agency before a local court on Sunday for seeking his custody.

A total of 8 people have been arrested till now by the NCB with six being directly linked to this probe while two were arrested by it when the probe was launched under criminal sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

When the probe in the case began, the agency had arrested two men, Abbas Lakhani and Karan Arora, for alleged drug peddling and officials have claimed that through them they reached Zaid Vilatra and Abdel Basit Parihar who are allegedly linked to this drugs case as they were in touch with Miranda.

Miranda, they had said, used to allegedly procure drugs from them on the purported instructions of Showik, agency officials said.

Both Lakhani and Arora have been granted bail. The NCB had said it recovered 59 grams of cannabis from them.

The NCB, while seeking remand of one of the accused in this case few days back, had told a local court that it was looking into “the drug citadel in Mumbai, and especially Bollywood” in this probe.

This case has given the NCB an “inkling” into the narcotics network and its penetration in Bollywood or Hindi movie industry, NCB Deputy Director General Mutha Ashok Jain told reporters on Saturday.

Various angles surrounding the death of the 34-year-old actor are being probed by three federal agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The NCB initiated a drug angle probe in this case after the ED shared with it a report following the cloning of two mobile phones of Rhea.

Rajput was found dead at his flat in suburban Bandra area on June 14.

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