The star trek has begun – in response to summons from the office of the Narcotics Control Bureau!
Actor Deepika Padukone arrived on Thursday from Goa in a chartered flight, husband Ranvir in tow; he chaperoned her out of the airport, a protective arm around her shoulder.
The actress has acknowledged the summons and has a date with the NCB sleuths on Saturday; Padukone was earlier slated to be questioned on Friday – when, by an uncanny coincidence, there is going to be a nationwide protest by farmers over the passage of three contentious bills in Parliament.
Having been taken off their usual Covid and other duties, police personnel have been deployed outside Deepika's residence. A team from the Dadar police station has been deployed outside 'Beaumonde Towers' in Prabhadevi, where the 34-year-old actor owns an apartment, as a precautionary measure, a police officer said.
Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor too have been called for questioning on Saturday and the former was spotted with her mother Amrita Singh and brother Ibrahim Ali Khan on arrival at Mumbai airport. As per reports, a legal team was already at Sara's home.
In another development, the NCB has summoned Dharma Production's executive producer Kshitij Prasad to join the probe. This is the first time that an executive from a major production house is under the scanner of the central agency.
Deepika was shooting in Goa when she received summons. So was Sara, who had co-starred with Sushant Singh Rajput in the 2018 film Kedarnath.
The agency will question actor Rakul Preet Singh and Karishma Prakash, employed with the Mumbai-based KWAN Talent Management Agency, on Friday. Prakash, who was handling Deepika’s account, is under the scanner for alleged incriminating chats with the actor in which drugs were discussed. Singh was called on Thursday but will be arriving on Friday.
“Deepika has acknowledged the summons and has submitted she will be joining the investigation on Saturday. Simone Khambatta and Shruti Modi joined the investigation and statements in this regard have been recorded,” said KPS Malhotra, deputy director, NCB.
When asked about the details of the complaint, a senior NCB office maintained that the case was in the investigation stage and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) Act defines manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transportation, warehousing, concealment, use or consumption of narcotics substances as offences.
“Whether the charges are applicable or not will be decided by the court and the concerned accused are free to fight it out in court,” he said.
The film stars are under investigation in two specific FIRs filed by the NCB, which are related to investigating allegations pertaining to drug procurement, conspiracy and consumption, among other charges. While 19 persons 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 accused include her brother Showik Chakraborty, alleged drug peddlers and staffers of Rajput.
Mumbai Police will beef up security outside the guesthouse near the Gateway of India, which is being used as a makeshift office by the agency.