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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Rhea held, NCB says she got Rajput drugs ‘for consumption’

Late on Tuesday evening, the court rejected Chakraborty's bail application, sending the 28-year-old to judicial custody for 14 days.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Updated: September 9, 2020 12:21:16 pm
Drug case, NCB probe, Sushant Singh Rajput death probe, Rhea Chakraborty, Mumbai news, Indian express newsRhea Chakraborty.

THE NARCOTICS Control Bureau (NCB) on Tuesday arrested actor Rhea Chakraborty on charges of procuring drugs along with Sushant Singh Rajput and paying for the same.

Based on statements by Chakraborty’s brother Showik, and Rajput’s cook and housekeeper, who were arrested earlier, the NCB said drugs were procured on the directions of both her and Rajput, and that both paid for them, thus establishing that “she (Chakraborty) was an active member of (a) drug syndicate connected with drug supplies”. No narcotics have been recovered from either Chakraborty or Showik.

In its remand application to a magistrate court, the NCB said, “It is also clear… that Rhea used to procure drugs for Rajput for consumption purposes. Rhea used to manage finances for drug procurement along with Rajput. As per disclosures made by Rhea, she was arrested.”

Late on Tuesday evening, the court rejected Chakraborty’s bail application, sending the 28-year-old to judicial custody for 14 days. NCB Deputy Director General Mutha Ashok Jain had said earlier that they would not seek her custodial remand as they had already questioned her.

On Tuesday morning, Chakraborty appeared for questioning before the NCB, for the third day in a row. She was placed under arrest around 4 pm, becoming the 10th person to be arrested in a case filed under sections of the Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act dealing with procuring and supplying narcotics and criminal conspiracy.

The others arrested include the late Rajput’s cook Dipesh Sawant and his housekeeper Samuel Miranda. Three of those arrested, Abbas Lakhani, Karn Arora and Kaizan Ebrahim, are out on bail.

In their remand application seeking Chakraborty’s judicial custody, the NCB said Showik had told them he would facilitate the delivery of drugs “to be received by the aides of Sushant Singh Rajput and every delivery and payment was in conscious knowledge of Rhea Chakraborty and even some times payment and choice of drug was confirmed from Rhea Chakraborty”. NCB officials had earlier said the drug involved was mostly bud or curated marijuana.

The remand application further claimed that Miranda had disclosed that he procured drugs “on the direction of Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty and disclosed that financial matters in this regard were being dealt by Rhea and Sushant”. The NCB said Sawant too had testified that “he used to receive drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput on his directions, and on several occasions Rhea Chakraborty also instructed him. Furthermore the financial issues for purchase of drugs were also being dealt by Sushant and Rhea. Dipesh used to receive drugs with Miranda for Sushant Singh Rajput”.

The NCB application stated that it was based on these three statements that Chakraborty had been questioned and her statement recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act. “On all three days she was confronted with all other accused persons and facts in their statements were verified. She has acknowledged their statements and her role (in those). During her statement Rhea revealed her involvement in procurement of drugs and financial transactions and also instructions to Miranda, Sawant and Showik in this regard. Therefore, it is clear from her statement that Rhea is an active member of the drug syndicate connected with drug supplies,” the remand said.

After her arrest, Chakraborty was taken to Sion Hospital for a medical test. Since she tested negative for Covid-19, she was taken to the NCB office, where she will be kept overnight with judicial guards before being moved to Byculla Jail. Chakraborty is likely to approach the Sessions Court for bail on Wednesday.

Criticising the arrest, her lawyer Satish Maneshinde said in a statement: “This is a travesty of justice, with three central agencies hounding a single woman just because she was in love with a drug addict, (who) was suffering from mental health issues for several years, (was) under the care of five leading psychiatrists in Mumbai and ended up committing suicide due to consumption of illegally administered medicines and used drugs.”

Chakraborty has said in the past that Rajput, whom she was seeing, regularly took marijuana and she had discouraged him from it as he was taking medications for mental issues.

Maneshinde has said Chakraborty has never consumed drugs and was ready for a blood test.

Apart from the NCB case, Chakraborty is being probed by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, in an abetment to suicide case and on money laundering charges respectively, in connection with Rajput’s death on June 14.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police on Tuesday converted into an FIR the complaint filed by Chakraborty at the Bandra Police Station against Rajput’s sister Priyanka Singh and a doctor in Delhi over prescription of medicines to him. This case will be probed by the CBI, as a court had directed earlier.

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