Ragini Dwivedi
Ragini Dwivedi

In a surprise move, the police, armed with a search warrant, raided the residence of Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi here early Friday and scoured for evidence into a massive drug racket that has surfaced in the state. Later, at noon, she was picked up and questioned for over seven hours following which she was formally arrested.

Ragini had on Thursday said she would appear before the Central Crime Branch (CCB) on Monday, but the police suspected that she would use the breather to destroy evidence of the drug racket.

In a statement in the evening, Bengaluru Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said, "Ragini Dwivedi has been arrested and taken into custody."

Besides the actress, two people – a businessman named Rahul and Viren Khanna -- were arrested, taking the number of people in custody to four.

According to Patil, Viren Khanna is a big catch. "He (Khanna) is the main person who organises big parties where drugs are consumed. He was in Delhi and two CCB police inspectors had gone to Delhi and arrested him," the Joint Commissioner said.

On Thursday, the police had arrested K Ravi Shankar, a clerk in the Road Transport Office. He allegedly had close links to Ragini and was supplier of drugs to the actor.

Despite being a clerk, Ravi Shankar had a lavish lifestyle and attended high-end parties with Rahul. They obtained drugs from foreign nationals, it is claimed.

‘‘After rigorous questioning, we learned that he (Ravi Shankar) was attending parties and procuring drugs from various places. He has confessed to his activities and we are bringing in more people in connection with this case,” Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said.

Rahul is reportedly a close associate of Sandalwood actor Sanjjana Galrani. He used to visit other countries and procure synthetic drugs, which were allegedly consumed at various parties, which were attended by several celebrities from the Kannada film industry.

“We have not issued any notice to actor Sanjjana. The investigation has just begun and we will take this one step at a time,” Kamal Pant added.

The police have now expanded the probe to the next level and based on the evidence given by those in custody, a few others have been called for questioning.

Ragini Dwivedi, whose family hails from Rewari in Haryana, was born in Bengaluru. She made her debut in the movie Veera Madakari in 2009. She shot to fame for her role in Kempe Gowda, Ragini IPS, Bangari and Shiva.

She had applied for anticipatory bail but the hearing was postponed to Monday, September 7. Her application will now be treated as one for regular bail.

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