Drugs case: Summoned Bollywood celebrities early after chats got leaked, say cops
A section of special drug police team in city is upset that shenanigans of a few officers is weakening their case against local cartel
The leaking of WhatsApp chats, on the basis of which the NCB has been investigating substance abuse in Bollywood, has weakened its probe, NCB officers feel. Officers say they had a chance of seizing drugs at some celebrities' homes but the chats displayed on national TV news put everyone on alert.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the NCB wanted more time to collect evidence but had to summon the celebrities earlier than planned after the chats leaked.
Sara Ali Khan at Mumbai airport on Thursday. Pic/ Anurag Ahire
Some of the SIT officers seem to be unhappy with the leaks. "There was a possibility that the celebrities were not only consumers but also part of a drug trafficking syndicate. The managers of leading talent companies are arranging for narcotics at actors' demands. But how and from where are they getting these? The peddlers have all gone underground," said an officer.
"Our probe has found links between drug cartels and high profile celebs. We were slowly moving towards making seizures. This would have helped us build a watertight case. But the display of WhatsApp chats and other electronic evidence on TV news channels has weakened our case against celebs who can now only be booked for consumption," the officer added.
The SIT had been keeping tabs on Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh and designer Simone Khambatta. "Everyone will be questioned on procurement as it is important to understand if only managers were getting drugs or there was direct contact between celebs and peddlers." the officer said.
Deepika to visit on Sat
Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone arrived on a chartered flight from Goa at the VIP gate in Kalina, Santacruz, on Thursday. PIC/Pradeep Dhivar
Padukone, summoned by the NCB on Friday, has acknowledged the summons saying she will join on Saturday. "Deepika has acknowledged the summons and has said that she will join the probe on Saturday," said KPS Malhotra, deputy director, NCB. Whereas Rakul will join the probe on Friday along with Padukone's manager, Karishma Prakash.
Actress Rakul Preet Singh will join the probe on Friday. FILE PIC
Rhea's bail plea
The Bombay High Court heard the bail plea of Rhea and Showik Chakraborty on Thursday. Rhea's lawyer Satish Maneshinde argued, "NCB's probe is without jurisdiction and illegal in view of the fact that case no. 16/20 is in relation to the drug angle in the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. But the Supreme Court in its August 19 order had ordered the transfer of all cases to CBI. Hence, this probe is illegal."
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the NCB, sought time to file a reply. The court has scheduled the hearing of all applications related to the case on September 29.
Showik questioned again
The NDPS court on Thursday allowed further interrogation of Showik and Sushant's house help Deepesh Sawant. The NCB recorded their statements on the same day as links with Sara and Shraddha cropped up. The two actresses have been summoned for questioning on September 26.
Officers also said that the actresses have been summoned under both FIRs — 20/16 in which Rhea and 18 other accused have been arrested and 15/20, registered against Rhea, her family and Sushant's manager, Shruti Modi, based on the WhatsApp chats shared by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). However, Padukone, Rakul, Khambatta, Jaya Saha, and Modi have been summoned only in the case number 15/20.
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