The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) summoned Karishma Prakash, the manager of actor Deepika Padukone and an employee of Kwan talent management company, as well as firm CEO Dhruv Chitgopekar, for questioning on Tuesday.
While Prakash sought exemption on grounds of ill health and said will join the probe on September 25, Chitgopekar arrived for questioning in the afternoon. Prakash and Dhruv were summoned in connection with chats retrieved from the phone of Kwan employee Jaya Saha, former manager of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Asked if Padukone, too, will be summoned, a senior NCB official, said: “Currently, no such decision has been taken. Mere WhatsApp chats do not prove criminality and are not grounds enough for issuing summons.”
The NCB has claimed that it has found a WhatsApp group in Saha’s phone, in which marijuana was discussed and the names of some members of the group were saved as initials. Based on these chats and prima facie probe, summons were issued to Prakash and Chitgopekar.
The NCB, which questioned Saha on Monday, continued with recording her statement on Tuesday. Officials said Saha’s questioning is important and will direct who else will be called in for questioning.
The case, lodged in connection to Rajput’s death probe, is part of NCB’s investigation against the “drug syndicate” that supplied “narcotics to Bollywood”. So far 19 people, including actor Rhea Chakraborty, have been arrested in connection to the case. The NCB had earlier said it was going to summon actors Sara Ali Khan and Rakul Preet Singh as well as designer Simone Khambatta later this week.
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