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Friday, April 23, 2021

Drugs case: NCB files chargesheet against 33, including Rhea Chakraborty

The chargesheet was over 12,000 pages with annexures running into 50,000 pages. It included WhatsApp chats between the accused and their call data records, among other evidence.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
Updated: March 5, 2021 4:14:07 pm
Rhea Chakraborty exits the NCB office in Mumbai in January 2021. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar, File)

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Friday submitted a chargesheet against 33 persons, including actor Rhea Chakraborty, before a special court in Mumbai in connection with the drugs case filed following actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

The chargesheet was over 12,000 pages with annexures running into 50,000 pages. It included WhatsApp chats between the accused, their Call Data Records, and bank documents, among other evidence. The NCB said over 200 witness statements were included in the chargesheet, which was brought to court on Friday in two trunks.

The copies will now be verified by the court before being handed over to the accused.

The case — 16/20 — was filed by the NCB following the registration of a previous case — 15/20 — based on chats provided to the agency by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED was probing a complaint of money-laundering against Rhea and others based on a complaint by Rajput’s father. Rajput died by suicide at his Bandra residence on June 14, 2020. The ED has so far not made any arrests or filed a chargesheet in its case.

The NCB claimed to have found a link to Chakraborty following the arrest of alleged drug peddlers. The NCB said Chakraborty, Rajput’s cook Dipesh Sawant, and his manager Samuel Miranda, bought drugs for the late actor on his instructions.

Among the arrested accused, the NCB has claimed to have seized a commercial quantity of contraband from Anuj Keshwani. The others arrested in the case include two students, at least two foreign nationals including Agisilaos Demetriades, the brother of actor Arjun Rampal’s partner, and Kshitij Prasad, executive producer of Dharmatic Entertainment, the sister concern of Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions. While most of the accused were released on bail, including Chakraborty and her brother Showik, Prasad and at least three others continue to remain in jail.

The NCB had booked the accused under Sections 8(c) read with Section 20(b) (ii), 22, 27A, 28, 29 and 30 of the NDPS Act. These pertain to alleged use and possession of cannabis and psychotropic substances, financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders as well as abetment and criminal conspiracy, attempt and preparation of committing an offence.

While the NCB had recorded statements of over 20 accused, leading to more arrests in the case to establish an alleged link between them to prove they were part of illicit drug trafficking, a Supreme Court judgment in October 2020 said these cannot be the sole basis for convicting an accused. The court had ruled that such statements recorded before NCB officials could not be considered as confessional statements and would not be admissible as evidence. The NCB, however, maintains there is other corroborative evidence against the accused.

Here’s the full list of people who have been named in the chargesheet

Abbas Lakhani
Karn Arora
Zaid Vilatra
Abdel Basit Parihar
Kaizan Ebrahim
Samuel Miranda
Showik Chakraborty
Dipesh Sawant
Anuj Keshwani
Rhea Chakraborty
Ankush Arneja
Sanket Patel
Karamjeet Anand
Dwayne Fernandes
Sandeep Gupta
Aftab Ansari
Crist Perreira
Suryadeep Malhotra
Rahil Vishram
Kshitij Prasad
Jai Madhok
A Demetriades
Sahil Ali
Nikhil Saldanha
Paul Bartel
Jinendra Jain
Mohammed Azam Shaikh
Anuj Ghughe
Yen Valavalkar
Rishikesh Pawar
Jagtap Anand
Rahila Furniturewala
Karan Sanjnani

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