Drugs case: Rakul Preet Singh, Deepika Padukone's manager depose before NCB

Updated: 25 September, 2020 15:40 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Karishma Prakash, manager of actor Deepika Padukone, also reached the NCB office in Colaba to join the probe

Rakul Preet Singh at NCB office. Pic/Atul Kamble
Rakul Preet Singh at NCB office. Pic/Atul Kamble

Actor Rakul Preet Singh deposed before the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday at their office in South Mumbai to record her statement in connection with the drug probe linked to actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death.

Karishma Prakash, manager of actor Deepika Padukone, and Dharma Productions executive producer Kshitij Ravi Prasad also reached the NCB office in Colaba to join the probe.

Rakul arrived at around 10.30 am. The 29-year-old actor has appeared for questioning for the first time. She was to record her statement on Thursday, but her team had claimed that she had not received summons. Later, NCB officials issued fresh summons following which she acknowledged it.

Reportedly, the NCB has also asked Dharma Productions ex-Assistant Director Anubhav Chopra for questioning in connection with the case.

Actors Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor, who were issued summons by NCB, will join the investigation on Saturday. An NCB official said: "Deepika has acknowledged the summon and has agreed to join the investigation on Saturday."

The development came a day after the agency issued a summon to Deepika, the daughter of badminton icon Prakash Padukone who is married to Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh, to join the probe after her alleged chats with her manager Karishma Prakash came to the fore during the investigation.

Deepika on Thursday arrived in Mumbai from Goa, where she was shooting for an upcoming film along with Siddhant Chaturvedi and Ananya Pandey.

Sara is the daughter of actors Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh, while Shradhha is the daughter of veteran actor Shakti Kapoor. Sara also arrived in Mumbai from Goa along with her mother.

NCB sources said that they all have been summoned after their names surfaced in WhatsApp chats accessed by the NCB and during the questioning of Sushant's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty.

The source said that these celebrities will be questioned about how and from whom they procured drugs and whether they were meant for personal consumption or for someone else.

The source further said that while probing the link of the Kwan Talent Management Agency in the case, Deepika's chats with Karishma surfaced. Karishma handled Deepika's account at Kwan till 2017.

According to an NCB official, the names of Sara and Shraddha came up in two drugs cases registered by the agency.

The official said that the NCB is presently investigating two separate cases which revolve around the drugs cartel that is active in the tinsel town. The first case was registered on the directions of the top brass of the NCB after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) forwarded a brief note on Rhea and her brother Showik's WhatsApp chats.

In its FIR number 15, the NCB claimed, "Analysis of WhatsApp chats of Rhea Chakraborty with other entities reflects the angle of conspiracy and abetment in possession, sale, purchase, consumption, transportation and usage of substances covered under NDPS Act."

In the second case (FIR number 16), the NCB has so far arrested 19 persons, including Rhea and Showik.

Earlier on Thursday, the NCB recorded the statement of fashion designer Simone Khambatta for over four hours and Sushant's former manager Shruti Modi for over six hours.

The NCB has also recorded the statements of Kwan CEO Dhruv Chitgopekar, producer Madhu Mantena Varma and Sushant's talent manager Jaya Saha.

Sushant was found dead at his Bandra apartment on June 14.

Speaking to IANS, criminal lawyer Jaikush Hoon said, "Deepika, Shraddha, Sara and Rakul have been summoned by the NCB for questioning pertaining to its ongoing investigation. The questioning would revolve around various sections of the NDPS Act, 1985."

Hoon said that if they are booked under Sections 8(A)(c), 20(b) and 22(a), they would be subjected to one year rigorous imprisonment and Rs 10,000 fine. If the NCB can prepare its case against them under Sections 22(b) and 27(a), then they can be sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine.

The lawyer said that the probe of Deepika would revolve around two angles, i.e., Sushant-Rhea drug angle and Manjinder Singh Sirsa's complaint about a video of a 2019 Bollywood party.

Besides the NCB, the CBI and the ED are also probing Sushant's death case.

(With inputs from agency)

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First Published: 25 September, 2020 12:03 IST

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