After being questioned since Sunday, actress Rhea Chakraborty was placed under arrest on Tuesday afternoon by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in connection with a drug case allegedly linked with the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. The agency has termed her “as an active member of the drug syndicate”.
The arrest comes after several rounds of interrogation of her brother Showik and others, who have been probed over certain incriminating chats. No drugs have been recovered from her possession and the arrest is based on electronic evidence – chats from her phone related to procurement of drugs, sources said.
Rejecting her plea for bail, the magistrate's court remanded Rhea to 14 days of judicial custody, as sought by the NCB through video-conferencing.
In its remand plea, the NCB said that Showik has revealed that he used to facilitate supply of drugs and these used to be received by aides of Sushant; every delivery and payment was within the conscious knowledge of Rhea and, sometimes, the payment and choice of drug would be confirmed by her.
The agency further said, Sushant’s house manager Samuel Miranda would procure drugs upon the directions of the couple and they also dealt with financial matters together. Further, it said that Sushant’s cook Dipesh Sawant had also revealed that he used to procure drugs for Sushant on the latter’s directions and that on several occasions Rhea too had instructed him to do so.
The financial aspect was dealt with by the couple, he had said. The agency said it had arrested Rhea based on the disclosures of Showik, Samuel and Dipesh. Further, she was confronted with them all and has explained her role. “In her statement, Rhea Chakraborty revealed her involvement in procurement of drugs and financial transactions and also her instructions to Samuel Miranda, Dipesh Sawant and Showik Chakraborty in this regard,” the agency said.
The agency went on to call her “an active member of the drug syndicate”, saying this was clear from her statement. “It is also clear from the statement that the present respondent used to procure drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput for consumption purpose,” it said, adding, “The present respondent used to manage finance for drug procurement along with Sushant Singh Rajput.”
Earlier in the day, Rhea was taken to Sion Hospital after her arrest proceedings and was tested for Covid-19, the results of which were negative. Speaking to mediapersons, Mutha Ashok Jain, Deputy Director General, South-Western Region, NCB, said that there were sufficient grounds for Rhea’s arrest based on her statements. Jain said that custodial interrogation of the actress was not sought before the court, as they were satisfied after questioning her for three days.
The agency, however, said it would oppose bail for all the accused. “Four other accused are to be produced before a court on Wednesday. We will be opposing bail applications,” he said. An NCB source stated that Rhea had co-operated with the investigation and they have material evidence.
The NCB investigation revolved around the alleged procurement of drugs by Rhea and Showik. The agency claims that they are linked to those earlier arrested in the case.
Till now, a total 59 grams of curated marijuana has been recovered from two men — Abbas Lakhani and Karan Arora — already arrested. Another accused, Kaizan Ebrahim, was held with 0.5 grams of a dark brown substance purported to be the hashish found at his house, the NCB stated. The agency has also seized drugs from Anuj Keshwani, who was found in possession of 590 grams of hashish, 0.64 grams of LSD sheets and 304 grams of marijuana.
The NCB has arrested Rhea Chakraborty under sections 8(c), 20(b), 27(a), 28 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), which deal with violations pertaining to banned narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
Reacting to the arrest, her counsel senior advocate Satish Maneshinde said, “Travesty of Justice. 3 Central Agencies hounding a single woman, just because she was in love with a drug addict who was suffering from mental health issues for several years under the care of 5 Leading Psychiatrists in Mumbai, who ended up committing suicide due to consumption of Illegally administered medicines and used drugs.”
Earlier, the NCB stated that Ebrahim and Abdul Parihar had disclosed the name of Sawant during their interrogation. The cook was placed under arrest. “During the voluntary statement, Sawant revealed that on March 17, 2020, as per the directions of accused Showik, he went with accused Samuel Miranda to receive delivery of 5 grams of doob/marijuana/cannabis at Bandra from accused Zaid Vilatra,” the agency had earlier told the court.
The agency claims that drugs were procured on multiple occasions. “On April 17, 2020, Rhea Chakbraborty ordered him (Sawant) to receive a delivery of 10 grams of charas from a person named accused Ebrahim near Mount Blanc building…Through WhatsApp chat on May 1, 2020, Showik asked him (Sawant) to receive ganja (marijuana) from a person named Dwayne and also shared with him the contact number of Dwayne..On May 2, 2020, he also received 50 grams charas from Dwayne. In the first week of June, he also received 100 grams from a delivery boy of Rishikesh Pawar,” the agency had earlier claimed.