AS PART of its investigations into Rhea Chakraborty’s purported WhatsApp chats and an alleged “drug citadel in Mumbai”, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has summoned actors Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh for questioning.
While Padukone and Singh have been summoned in connection with the FIR filed by the NCB based on Chakraborty’s purported chats, Khan and Kapoor have been summoned in connection with the case in which the NCB told a local court it wanted to “uproot the drug citadel in Bollywood”. While 19 persons have been arrested in the second case, including Chakraborty and her brother Showik, no arrests have been made in the first case as yet.
NCB Deputy Director K P S Malhotra said, “Singh has been summoned on September 24, Padukone on September 25. The rest have been called for questioning a day later.”
On Tuesday, NCB officials had said they would first record the statement of Padukone’s manager and Kwan talent management company employee Karishma Prakash, following which a decision to summon Padukone will be taken. Prakash did not appear before the NCB, seeking exemption till September 25 on grounds of ill-health, while Kwan CEO Dhruv Chitgopekar was questioned for the second day in a row on Wednesday.
Another director at Kwan, film producer Madhu Mantena, too appeared before the NCB on Wednesday, as did Kwan employee Jaya Saha, who had been the talent manager of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
A senior official said, “We have called the actors based on statements of some of those called in for questioning, along with WhatsApp chats we have found. We will be questioning them in light of some of the chats and statements made uptil now. Saha’s testimony has been vital in widening the scope of the investigation.”
Sources said while Padukone and Prakash were called on the basis of some WhatsApp chats found on Saha’s phone, Khan, Singh, Kapoor and Mantena were summoned on the basis of statements by Chakraborty and Saha.
The official said that under the NDPS Act, they have six months to file a chargesheet and they will decide by then whom to charge, and whom to make a witness.
Only three of the 19 arrested in the probe into alleged drug supply to Bollywood have got bail. The arrested include Rajput’s house manager Samuel Miranda and cook Dipesh Sawant.
Chakraborty and Showik have filed for bail in the Bombay High Court after a special rejected their bail plea.
The two have argued that the NCB had not shown any seizure or possession of drugs from them or mentioned the type or quantity. Chakraborty has said that the prima facie allegations are that she had bought drugs for her boyfriend Rajput, who was found dead on June 14 at his Bandra residence. She said this did not amount to being part of a nexus, so as to invoke Section 27A of the NDPS Act, which pertains to financing illicit traffic and is a non-bailable offence.
The special court, while rejecting bail to Chakraborty, Showik and four others, had said that under the section no particular quantity of drug is required to prove the offence.
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