The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) searched the Versova residence of Deepika Padukone's former manager Karishma Prakash on Tuesday. She has been questioned multiple times in the past in connection with the drug case related to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Padukone too had been questioned with Prakash at that time. The latter is an employee of the KWAN Talent Management agency in Mumbai. Prakash, who was handling actor Padukone’s account, is being probed for alleged incriminating chats with the actor in which drugs were discussed.
The NCB raided Prakash’s residence based on fresh findings about her alleged links with one of the drug peddlers who has been already arrested in the case. The name of the peddler is being withheld, pending investigation. The agency found small quantities of two types of drugs at her residence during the search. "Prakash was in touch with the peddler. She was not found at her residence. Her phone is switched off and she is untraceable. We have given her an opportunity to be present at the NCB office on Wednesday," said a source privy to the investigation.The agency has been trying to find her location, but to no avail. It called an acquaintance to enter her house, after which a thorough search was conducted. A notice has been pasted at her residence, asking her to be present before the agency’s South Mumbai office at Ballard Estate on Wednesday.Sources said Prakash would be questioned on her links to the peddler and whether she was involved in procuring or selling any nabbed narcotics substances.The NCB probe, headed by Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede and Deputy Director KPS Malhotra, has now widened to unearth drug syndicates that have been at the forefront of procuring high-quality drugs from abroad and supplying to specific persons.
The chats naming Deepika are from October 2017, in which the sender ‘Deepika Padukone’ is asking for 'maal' from 'K' who replies that she has it, but at home. The agency stated that ‘K’ is Prakash. The chats further discuss how the contraband can be delivered and Deepika is asking for 'hash' and 'not weed'.
Filmstars and peddlers are under investigation over two FIRs filed by the NCB, with allegations pertaining to drug procurement, conspiracy, consumption among other charges. While 24 people have been arrested in the second FIR, actor Rhea Chakraborty is the only person from the film fraternity to be arrested in the case till now. The other arrested accused include Agisilaos Demetriades, brother of actor Arjun Rampal's girlfriend Gabriella and Showik Chakraborty, brother of actor Rhea Chakraborty. The agency has also arrested alleged drug peddlers and staffers of the late actor Rajput.
In a separate case on Tuesday, the NCB arrested one Joshua Crasto, 39, a resident of Perry Cross Road in Bandra. He was found in possession of 50 grams of marijuana, 25 grams of buds or curated marijuana and 2.2 grams of cocaine. “On interrogation, Crasto revealed that he would procure buds from foreign countries and charas from locals in Worli and nearby areas. He would consume and supply this contraband. He kept contraband in his house and also supplied to others,” said a source.