RHEA Chakraborty’s brother Showik and the house caretaker of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput were on Friday night arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for allegedly procuring non-commercial quantity of marijuana/ ganja from an alleged drug supplier at least 10-12 times between September 2019 and April this year.
As per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, for non-commercial quantity, a person can get immunity from prosecution in lieu of volunteering for rehabilitation treatment. The NCB generally registers cases involving marijuana only when about 20 kg or more is involved. However, the NCB said it was probing if Showik and Samuel Miranda were part of a “network” involved in buying and selling of marijuana to Bollywood.
They have also claimed that the product in question was not simple marijuana but its more potent and curated version, “bud”, which sells at nearly the same rates as cocaine. The NDPS Act, however, does not differentiate between types of marijuana, with all carrying the same punishment.
With Showik and Miranda’s arrests, seven people have been held in a case filed by the NCB, that also names Chakraborty, who was seeing Rajput before he was found dead at his home on June 14.
An NCB official said they will question Showik and Miranda to find out the intended recipients of the marijuana they had allegedly procured. The official said that based on what they say, they might call others for questioning.
The FIR lodged against them contains sections pertaining to production, possession, import, export of cannabis plant and cannabis, with a maximum prison term of 10 years, apart from sections relating to attempts to commit offences, abetment and criminal conspiracy.
This FIR is in addition to the case the NCB had initially registered against Showik and Chakraborty based on alleged information from her WhatsApp chats provided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The five arrested earlier by the NCB are facing charges of supplying bud at parties. The NCB told a court during a remand hearing on Thursday that Showik had procured marijuana from one of the five, Abdel Basit Parihar (23), 10 to 12 times in eight months.
The NCB claimed that Parihar used to procure drugs from Zaid Vilatra and Kaizan Ebrahim, arrested earlier, “as per instructions of Showik Chakraborty”. “There are other instances where respondent (Parihar) facilitated to arrange for the drugs and he was in contact with Showik Chakraborty,” the NCB said in its remand application.
The agency said Parihar had “given many names” about the people he was “dealing in drugs” with, and that he was an active member of a “drug syndicate” connected with “high society personalities and drug suppliers”. It claimed he used to pay and receive money via Google Pay and the probe will be widened to other persons who made and received the payment.
The NCB also claimed to have arrested Vilatra with Rs 9.55 lakh, and said that in a voluntary statement, he had named Parihar as “a receiver of the ganja/marijuana”. His lawyer Taraq Sayyed denied that Vilatra had given any such statement to the agency.
The other two arrested, Abbas Ramzan Ali Lakhani and Karn Arora, were allegedly found to be in possession of non-commercial quantities of marijuana and are out on bail. Vilatra and Parihar are in NCB custody till September 9.
Stressing on a larger network, the NCB said it was investigating “the drug angle in the Sushant Singh Rajput case” and wanted to investigate the case thoroughly “so as to uproot the drug citadel in Mumbai, especially Bollywood”.
Chakraborty is also facing a CBI probe for abetment to suicide as well as a money laundering probe by the ED in connection with Rajput’s death.