Drugs case: Congress, NCP leaders scream conspiracy as NCB call Deepika Padukone for questioning

Updated: 24 September, 2020 07:16 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

As NCB confirms it has called Padukone for questioning on Sept 25, Congress and NCP leaders allege it's a conspiracy to distract the public and media from massive nationwide stir against the farm bills

Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone

As the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Wednesday confirmed that actress Deepika Padukone has been summoned in the alleged Bollywood drug syndicate case, opposition parties alleged that the BJP was using the case to divert people's attention from the crucial issue — the farmers' protest. The drug probe agency has called Padukone for questioning on September 25, the day of the nationwide protest.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the NCB started probing the alleged drug nexus in Bollywood during the investigation in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput's death. So far it has arrested 19 people, including actress Rhea Chakraborty.

NCB Deputy Director (Operations) K P S Malhotra confirmed that summons have been issued to actresses Shraddha Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan and Rakul Preet Singh, and fashion designer Simmone Khambata, besides Padukone. Officers said Khambata and Singh will join the probe on Thursday, September 24, Padukone September 25, and Kapoor and Khan on Saturday, September 26.

(From left) Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, and Sara Ali Khan. The NCB has summoned them all for questioning this week. Pic/PTI
(From left) Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, and Sara Ali Khan. The NCB has summoned them all for questioning this week. Pic/PTI

Just a diversionary tactic

The opposition parties have claimed that the BJP is using the entire case to keep the public away from the real issues ailing the country. Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said, "It's very clear from the beginning that the BJP has been using the Rajput's death case to divert people's attention from the COVID-19 pandemic, economy, China, and now farms bills. And, central investigating agencies and some news channels are working as BJP stooges."

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also alleged that the BJP has politicised Rajput's death case from Day 1. "Three national agencies have been used to divert the attention of people from real issues. So, we are not surprised now. We will keep raising the issues that really matters to the citizens of this country." State Cabinet minister and NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik hit out at a few media outlets as well for not highlighting the real issues. "Being the fourth pillar of democracy, media has to decide what is important. The diversionary tactics are being used, but it is unfortunate that media is not highlighting the real issues. They have to decide now whether or not farmers' protests are important."

Face to face interrogation

Meanwhile, NCB officers have said that on Friday, Padukone and her manager Karishma Prakash would be questioned face to face. Both were summoned on the basis of alleged WhatsApp chats about procuring hash. KWAN talent manager Jaya Saha was one of the participants of the WhatsApp group on which the actress had asked Prakash to get the drug for her.

The agency questioned Saha, the KWAN talent manager, on Wednesday and also interrogated the top management of the firm. Officers claimed that Saha has revealed names of other celebrities who procured drugs with her help. National Award winning filmmaker Madhu Mantena was also questioned by the NCB on Wednesday based on his chats with Saha.

TV actress questioned

The officers also raided the residence of TV actress Abigail Pandey and her partner Sanam Johar, who is a choreographer. They were also questioned.

"Since day one we have been saying that a big drug syndicate works within the film industry. High-profile people in the industry not only consume drugs, but even procure and give them to leading celebrities, some with international links," said an NCB officer on condition of anonymity. Meanwhile, the Bombay HC adjourned the bail hearing of Rhea and her brother Showik for Thursday, owing to the downpour in the city.

Sept 26
Day NCB has summoned Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan

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First Published: 24 September, 2020 07:05 IST

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