The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Saturday questioned Bollywood actresses -- Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor -- in connection with the probe into an alleged drug nexus involving members of the film industry.
The probe was initially triggered by the NCB's investigation into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and led to the arrest of his live-in partner Rhea Chakraborty for the procurement of drugs on his behalf.
Earlier on Friday, the NCB questioned actor Rakul Preet Singh along with Jaya Saha and Karishma Prakash who are employees of Kwan talent management agency.
Kshitij Ravi Prakash, a former contractual employee of Dharma Productions was also detained on Friday night after questioning and arrested the next day. He was taken for a medical examination by the agency on Saturday. In a statement, Producer, Director and head of Dharma Productions, Karan Johar, denied any links with either Kshitij Prasad or Anubhav Chopra who was also questioned in connection with the case.
A small amount of marijuana was reportedly recovered from Prasad's home in Mumbai when he was in Delhi.
Responding to Johar's statement, the NCB also clarified on Saturday that it is not investigating a party thrown by the director in 2019.
As per the latest inputs, NCB has seized the cell phones of the three actors along with that of Karishma Prakash, Jaya Saha, Rakul Preet Singh, and fashion designer Simone Khambatta. These will be sent for forensic analysis.
The NCB said it has issued no new summons to anyone else and is likely to leave for Delhi on Sunday to present a full report to Director-General Rakesh Asthana.
Accompanied by her husband actor Ranveer Singh, actor Deepika Padukone flew back to Mumbai from Goa where she was shooting for a movie on Friday night. She arrived at the NCB office in Mumbai around 9.45 am on Saturday morning.
Initial inputs had suggested that Deepika was the admin of a WhatsApp group where drugs were discussed in 2017. Deepika's manager Karishma Prakash also arrived at the NCB office around 10.50 am.
Sources in the NCB claimed Deepika Padukone broke down thrice during questioning and was told not to play the "emotional card". She accepted that the WhatsApp chats in question belong to her but denied consuming or supplying drugs to anyone else. Deepika was let off after five hours of questioning and was not asked anything in connection to actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death.
Actor Shraddha Kapoor arrived at the NCB office at 11.45 am on Saturday after being summoned by the agency. She too denied consuming drugs and was allowed to leave at around 5.45 pm after being questioned for nearly six hours.
Sara Ali Khan
The NCB had summoned actor Sara Ali Khan for questioning around 10.30 am but the same was rescheduled to 12.30 pm as per her request. She arrived at the NCB office at 1 pm and was questioned until 5.45 pm when she was photographed returning home.
During her interaction with NCB officials, Sara said she smoked cigarettes but denied the consumption of any illegal drugs. She further claimed that she did grow close to actor Sushant Singh Rajput during the shoot of Kedarnath and even met him at parties.
Sara has not responded to allegations levelled against her by Sushant's live-in partner Rhea Chakraborty who accused her of introducing the deceased actor to illegal drugs.
Rakul Preet Singh
Actor Rakul Preet Singh who was questioned by the NCB on Friday has moved the Delhi High Court seeking an interim direction to respondents.
The plea seeks to ensure the media does not broadcast any programme or publish, print or circulate any article relating to her being questioned by the drug enforcement agency.
Source: India Today
BDST: 1245 HRS, SEP 27, 2020