Mumbai: 21-year-old film artist dies after partying with drugs

She was partying with three friends, who told the police that they had mixed Ecstasy with an energy drink; while cops suspect it is a case of overdose, family cries foul, claims it could have been date rape

A night of partying with recreational drugs ended in the death of a 21-year-old Bollywood junior artist this weekend. While the police suspect it is a case of overdose, the victim’s family alleges foul play.

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Ruksar Khan was found lying motionless on Saturday evening after a night of partying with drugs.
Ruksar Khan was found lying motionless on Saturday evening after a night of partying with drugs.

The woman, identified as Ruksar Khan, was a resident of Govandi. She was a small-time film artist and took part in private events as well. The incident took place in the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, when Ruksar and three of her friends — Payal Banjara, Tauhid Ahmed and Sameer — decided to party at Payal’s rented house in MHADA complex in Kandivli.

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 A relative consoles Ruksar's mother Anjum Khan. PIC/SATEJ KHAN
 A relative consoles Ruksar's mother Anjum Khan. PIC/SATEJ KHAN

All four friends worked in the entertainment industry; Payal is an event organiser, Tauhid is an assistant make-up artist and Sameer is a camera technician. According to the police, Tauhid met Payal at Andheri station, where she gave him her house keys as she was busy with work.

Around 2 am, Payal went home with a few cans of Red Bull, and there were a few more cans in the house. In their statement to the police, the revellers said they had mixed packets of the drug, MD (popularly known as Ecstasy) in the cans. The group partied until late and then went to bed. Around 10 am on Saturday morning, Tauhid and Sameer left for their respective homes.

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The party was organised at Payal Banjara's rented house in MHADA complex in Kandivli
The party was organised at Payal Banjara's rented house in MHADA complex in Kandivli

“On Saturday morning, Payal developed severe stomach ache and she went to a clinic in Jogeshwari, assuming Ruksar was sleeping. In the evening, when Ruksar still wasn’t picking up calls, Payal called Tauhid and asked him to go check on her. Tauhid found Ruksar lying motionless. He called the police control room and 108 for an ambulance. When the cops and doctors arrived at the house, they found Ruksar dead. Her body was taken to Shatabdi Hospital for post-mortem,” said a police officer from Charkop police station.

The cops took down the statements of Payal and Tauhid, but Sameer was nowhere to be found. Ruksar’s family was informed about the incident.

An officer said, “Prima facie, it seems to be a case of drug overdose. We are taking the statements of her friends and may file an FIR. We recovered several things from the house — bottles of Red Bull, as well as a few used and unused packets of MD, which we have sent to the lab for investigation.”

However, Ruksar’s family thinks she was murdered. “We do not believe the police theory. We do not believe she was a drug addict. There is a strong possibility that the boys forced her to have drugs and she was called with the intention of rape,” claimed her uncle, Noor Siddique.

Ruksar’s mother, Anjum, said, “The cops came to know about the incident in the evening but they informed us in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Payal and Tauhid are constantly changing their statements and there are several discrepancies in their version. Her clothes had also been changed when we found her body.”

Her uncle added that when he went to the party venue, the entire house looked like it had been ransacked. The family is now demanding a probe by higher authorities.

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