New Delhi: Three women actors — Rhea Chabraborty, Ragini Dwivedi, and Sanjjanaa Galrani — have been arrested in drugs cases over the past six days.
While Chakraborty is an aspiring actress in Bollywood, both Dwivedi and Galrani are successful actors in the Kannada film industry, also known as Sandalwood.
Chakraborty was arrested Tuesday by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and both Dwivedi and Galrani were held by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) in Bengaluru Friday and Tuesday respectively.
ThePrint explains the similarities and differences in the cases against the three actors.
Cases of drug trafficking, procurement
While Chakraborty has been arrested by the NCB for her alleged involvement in a suspected drug abuse angle in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, both Dwivedi and Galrani were held by the CCB for their alleged involvement in a drug racket in the Kannada film industry.
Chakraborty’s arrest came in the wake of investigations into Rajput’s death on 14 June. She was in a relationship with the late actor when he was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his bedroom in Mumbai’s Bandra suburb.
The 28-year-old actress and former MTV VJ was questioned by the NCB for three consecutive days until her arrest Tuesday. She has been booked under several sections of the National Drugs & Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act for alleged procurement of drugs and managing finances for such procurement.
Documents submitted in the court by the NCB (a copy of which has been accessed by ThePrint) have stated that Chakraborty “procured drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput and used to manage finances for drug procurement with him”. It also speaks about her instructions for drug procurement to Dipesh Sawant (Rajput’s former cook), Showik Chakraborty (her brother) and former housekeeper Samuel Miranda.
The NCB has also noted that she was an “active member” of a drugs syndicate and procured illegal substances for Rajput.
Chakraborty was earlier questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which have been probing the money laundering and abetment to suicide angles in the Rajput death case. The NCB had filed a case after the ED claimed to have found several WhatsApp chats of Chakraborty and Showik related to consumption, procurement and transportation of drugs.
In the case of Dwivedi and Galrani, both actors were held after drug trafficking in the Kannada film industry came into focus when the NCB busted an international racket in August.
The CCB in Bengaluru later intensified its investigation after NCB arrested three people for allegedly supplying drugs to singers and actors in Sandalwood.
Large amounts of drugs were subsequently recovered from high-profile Bengaluru properties, largely belonging to people from the Sandalwood industry. Kannada filmmaker Indrajit Lankesh, in a recent statement to the CCB, had claimed that as many as 15 people in the industry were involved in drug trading.
So far, 13 have been booked and seven arrested in the Sandalwood drugs racket that involved party drugs such as ecstasy and LSD.
Dwivedi’s custody was extended Monday by another five days. Galrani has also been remanded to a five-day custody by the CCB. Chakraborty’s bail plea, meanwhile, was rejected and she has been sent to judicial custody till 22 September.
Drugs supply at high-end parties
The CCB has said that Dwivedi allegedly procured drugs from African origin drug peddler Loum Pepper Samba and supplied them at high-end parties. The agency also claimed that she had tried to destroy evidence by deleting messages with Samba.
Dwivedi, a former Miss India runner-up, had made her debut in the movie Veera Madakari in 2009 and shot to fame for her roles in Kempe Gowda, Ragini IPS, Bangari and Shiva.
Galrani, meanwhile, is a multilingual actor who has worked in over 45 Kannada and Telugu films. She is also known for her bold role in the movie Ganda Hendathi, a remake the 2004 Bollywood hit Murder starring Emraan Hashmi and Mallika Sherawat.
The police have claimed that Galrani and her friend realtor Rahul Shetty, who has also been arrested, were running an event management company and the parties organised by it were a “hotspot” for drug consumption and sales. These arrests were made after NCB held drug kingpin Anikha D and two others for importing and peddling synthetic drugs into India.
All those arrested have been booked under various sections of the NDPS Act and the IPC.
Some of the other accused in this racket include event manager Viren Khanna, RTO clerk Ravishankar, realtor Rahul Shetty, alleged drug suppliers Samba and Niyaz Ahmed from Kerala.
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