A Kannada film actress was arrested by Central Crime Branch of Bengaluru Police on Friday on charges of association with an international drug peddling racket that revolved around supplying psychedelic drugs to customers at big-ticket events like rave parties.
Ragini Dwivedi (30) was arrested on Friday evening, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said. The CCB also arrested one Viren Khanna from New Delhi “who organises big parties where drugs are consumed”, the Crime Branch official said.
Dwivedi’s arrest followed a search at her residence by the police in the morning and extended questioning of the actress, who had earlier failed to respond to a police notice to appear before the CCB on Wednesday for questioning in the illegal drug usage investigations.
“In the search conducted in the morning, important materials were seized,” Patil said.
On Thursday, the CCB arrested Ravi Shankar, an employee of the state regional transport organisation who was reportedly associated with Dwivedi in recent times. Questioning of Shankar reportedly revealed a link to an international drug racket which also featured the actress, the police said.
“A case has been registered in Cottonpet against the persons involved in this drug racket. In the course of the probe a search was conducted on the home of actress Ragini Dwivedi. Preliminary investigations have shown involvement in an international drug racket. Efforts are on to find the missing links,” the CCB said in a statement.
The probe into the use of drugs by celebrities and film world personalities in Karnataka began around 10 days ago, after the south zone unit of Narcotics Control Bureau arrested three persons — Anoop Mohammed, Rijesh Ravichandran from Kerala and Anikha Dinesh from Bengaluru — in possession of a large quantity of ecstasy pills and LSD blots worth Rs 20 lakh.
According to the NCB probe, Anoop Mohammed — who is reportedly associated with Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of Kerala CPM secretary and former minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan — and the two others were involved in supplying drugs to Bengaluru celebrities since 2015. The trio of alleged peddlers of party drugs were booked under the NDPS Act. Mohammed and Ravindran have now sought bail.
Following the NCB’s seizure of drugs in August, Kannada film director Indrajit Lankesh claimed to have information on several film personalities who frequently used drugs at parties. Dwivedi’s name emerged after the police questioned Lankesh, sources said.
Dwivedi used to be a top star in the Kannada film world. More recently, she was involved in promoting cricket leagues like CCL and Karnataka Premier League, where she was a brand ambassador for the Ballari Tuskers team owned by real estate businessman Arvind Reddy.
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