Ragini Dwivedi to spend 5 more days in police custody


Actor Ragini Dwivedi was remanded in 5-day police custody by a Bengaluru sessions court on Monday, even as investigators alleged that she was stone-walling most questions and not co-operating.

The prosecution claimed that investigators had been able to grill her for one of the three days she was in their custody as she constantly complained of back pain. The Central Crime Branch (CCB) said Ragini had to be taken to various spots for inspection and she needed to be grilled about her role in the drug case that has hit the Kannada film industry.

The CCB said Ragini had deleted all messaging apps and chats on her phones. “We wanted to find out dates, places where the parties were held, who sold the drugs and who consumed them. We told the court we needed time to quiz her on her financials,” CCB sources were quoted in the media.

The CCB has alleged that Ragini attended high-profile parties and allegedly consumed drugs there. The CCB has also arrested Viren Khanna, a high profile party planner, Rahul Tonse and Senegalese national Loum Pepper Samba, who allegedly had links to the drug trade.

In another breakthrough, the CCB on Monday arrested a Kerala native, Niyaz, for allegedly supplying drugs to these parties. Niyaz had settled in Bengaluru five years ago. “We will give more details after questioning him,” the CCB source added, calling him a “big catch”.

The investigators have also detained a businessman, Prashanth Ranka, an alleged drug supplier. Sources said they are questioning Ranka about his role in procurement and supply of drugs to celebrities. “Yes, he’s an accused in the case. We may arrest him any time now,” a senior cop told the media.

The CCB have so far arrested four of the 12 suspects in the case: Ragini, event managers Veeren Khanna and Rahul Tonse, and African Loom Pepper. Many big names have surfaced during the investigation. Among them is real estate developer Aditya Alva, son of late Janata Dal minister Jeevaraj Alva and brother-in-law of Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi.

Meanwhile, Karnataka BJP has distanced itself from Ragini after it emerged she had campaigned for the party during the 2019 bypoll. “Ragini Dwivedi is not a member of BJP nor had the party assigned her any electioneering work. She may have been involved on her own,” BJP spokesperson Capt Ganesh Karnik said.

The high-profile case had a funny side too. On Sunday, a man knocked at the doors of the CCB office declaring he was accused No. 13 and he had attended many parties with Ragini. He identified himself as Aravind, a friend of Shankar. “He came to the office on a scooter with a tea flask. Later, he claimed he was a drug consumer,” a cop said. Cops let him go after collecting his personal details. He added, “Looks like he is mentally disturbed.”

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