Mumbai, Mar 05, 2021, IANS
By Anand Singh and Quaid Najmi
The first charge sheet filed in the drugs case probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput has mentioned briefly about the role of his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty for being instrumental in procuring and financing the drugs.
A senior NCB official related to the probe wishing anonymity told IANS: "There has been instances in which the role of Rhea has been mentioned briefly in the charge sheet filed by the NCB in a court here."
The NCB filed a 11,700 pages charge sheet in the court here earlier in the day. The official said: "Rhea was instrumental in procuring and financing drugs." He said that Rhea's financial transactions have been corroborated in the case.
The official pointed out that the cash transactions of Rhea and then digital transfers have been mentioned in the charge sheet corroborating the use of the money for procuring and financing drugs.
The official also said that Rhea's brother, Showik Chakraborty has also been named in the charge sheet and his relations with drug peddlers Basit Parihar and Zayed along with the drug-delivering incidents have collaborated with Whatsapp chats and financial transactions.
To a question, if the drug-law enforcement agency has named Bollywood biggies like Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Kha, Shradhha Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh, the official said that they have not been named in the charge sheet.
Citing the reason for not mentioning their names in the charge sheet, the official explained that their statement was "disclosure-based".
Besides Rhea and Showik, the NCB has named 31 more people in its first charge sheet that it filed in the court. The official said that the late actor's ex-manager Samuel Miranda, his house help Dipesh Sawant, drug peddler Anuj Keshwani, from whom a commercial quantity of drugs (LSD sheets and marijuana) were first recovered, figure in the charge sheet.
There are two foreign nationals Agisilaos Demetriades, the brother of actor Arjun Rampal's South African girlfriend and model Gabriella Demetriades, besides Kshitij Prasad, a former executive producer connected with Dharma Productions and two college students who are said to be the last mile peddlers, have also been named.
The siblings. Rhea and Showik, have not reacted to the new development in the case.
In August last year, the NCB Mumbai had registered two cases related to the drugs angle which emerged in the investigations into Sushant's death.
Moving swiftly, the NCB had arrested Rhea and Showik, and several other persons in September last year, creating an upheaval in Bollywood circles.
The Chakraborty siblings and another 23 other arrested-accused are currently out on bail, while 8 remain in custody.
"Out of these 33 persons, 25 have been granted bail by the court and 8 remain in judicial custody. Further investigations are on against known-unknown persons and a supplementary charge sheet will be filed as per laws," NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede said in a statement.
Wankhede said that the NCB has seized various narcotic drugs (Charas, Ganja, LSD, Ecstasy) and psychotropic substances (Alprazolam and Clonazepam), Indian and foreign currencies, electronic gadgets and mobiles which were analyzed to reveal incriminating evidence pertaining to sale, purchase, procurement, consumption, possession of narcotic drugs.
"The drugs seized were sent for chemical examination, and the case was thoroughly investigated on the basis of seizures effected from the accused, voluntary disclosure (confessions), technical evidence like connectivity through call details, WhatsApp chats, bank accounts, financial transactions and other forms of evidence," Wankhede explained.
On the morning of June 14, 2020, Sushant, 34, was found hanging at his rented duplex flat in a posh building in Bandra, triggering a massive furor in Bollywood and political circles.
Subsequently, the NCB spread its net wide and questioned several celebrities, including Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Rakul Preet Singh, Karishma Prakash, and nabbed comedian couple Bharti Singh and Haarsh Limbachiyaa, who is now bailed out.
Simultaneously, the NCB has gone hammer and tongs after the drugs mafia in Mumbai with a series of seizures and arrests from the city and surroundings in the past six months.
The Maharashtra government has repeatedly demanded that the CBI should make public the findings of the probe into Sushant's death -- whether it was suicide or murder -- in the public interest.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: email@example.com)