A DAY after actor Rhea Chakraborty was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in an FIR that includes charges of financing of illicit traffic of drugs, the central agency said it would now begin investigations into an earlier FIR it had registered in connection with her purported WhatsApp chats discussing narcotics.
NCB sources said they would not be calling her for questioning in the earlier FIR, registered on August 26, since she had already answered queries linked to it during her three-day questioning by the agency.
The NCB had registered the August 26 FIR against Chakraborty, her brother Showik, her talent manager Jaya Saha, Sushant Singh Rajput’s former manager Shruti Modi and hotelier Gaurav Arya, solely on the basis of WhatsApp chats that the Enforcement Directorate claimed to have recovered from her phone.
Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde had earlier said she has never taken drugs and was ready for a blood test.
As per NCB officials, in one of her purported chats, Rajput’s house manager Samuel Miranda mentions to Chakraborty that “Showik’s friend”… “has just hash and bud”. The NCB claims the drug they are dealing with in the case against Chakraborty is essentially bud, or curated marijuana. Showik is Chakraborty’s brother, and is also under arrest in the case for which she was sent into 14-day custody on Tuesday.
An official said Chakraborty was “the last link” in the arrests made in the second FIR, in which nine others have been held. In the August 26 FIR, “she is the first accused”, the official said.
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However, compared to the second FIR that deals with “financing and harbouring” , the earlier FIR has charges under milder sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. In this FIR, NCB sources said, they would record statements of Arya, Saha and Modi. The three are not named in the second FIR.
An NCB official said, “Separate chargesheets will be filed in the two FIRs depending upon evidence. The charges against the accused will be specified in the chargesheets after our investigation is over.”
An NCB official told The Indian Express that Showik had said during questioning that Chakraborty told him Rajput habitually used marijuana.
Privy to Showik’s voluntary statement recorded under Section 67 of the NDPS Act, the official said: “He told investigators he is not a drug user and only arranged manicured marijuana and hashish for Sushant through his friends… After several visits, he came to know Sushant was smoking bud and weed.”
The official claimed Showik also admitted to have arranged bud for Rajput through a friend of a friend, “and delivery was made in Bandra area on March 17”. “He told the investigators that one of the suppliers… informed him that a gram of bud would cost Rs 2,000 and, with five grams of bud, one could make 20 joints… He also claimed that between March 17 and 23, Sushant had expressed his concern about stocks as a lockdown was expected… Later, he approached one of his friends and arranged hash,” the official said.
Asked about what Showik had reportedly told the NCB, Maneshinde, who is representing him too, said, “I can’t respond to a statement which I have not seen.”