New Delhi: Actor Rhea Chakraborty, who was questioned by the Narcotics Control Bureau for the third consecutive day Tuesday in connection with her alleged involvement in a suspected drug abuse angle in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, has been placed under arrest.
Rhea was in a relationship with Rajput at the time of his death on 14 June, when he was found hanging from the ceiling fan in his bedroom. She has been booked under the National Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act for alleged drug possession and consumption.
The NCB is one of the agencies involved in investigating the various aspects thrown up by Rajput’s death.
India’s apex drugs law enforcement agency filed a case last month after the Enforcement Directorate (ED), while probing an alleged money laundering angle, claimed to have found several WhatsApp chats of Rhea and her brother Showik related to consumption, procurement and transportation of drugs.
At the NCB office in Mumbai, she is believed to have been confronted with evidence, following which she “confessed to procuring drugs for Rajput”, a source in the agency said. No seizure has been made from her, the source added.
The 28-year-old actress, who was interrogated for eight hours Monday and six hours Sunday, was also confronted with her brother Showik Chakraborty.
Showik, along with Rajput’s house manager Samuel Miranda, was arrested by the NCB last week. Both have “confessed” that they were arranging drugs for the late Bollywood star and facilitating their delivery, sources had told ThePrint earlier.
Both Miranda and Showik have been booked for illegal possession, transportation and consumption of contraband. So far, the NCB has arrested nine people, including Rhea, in the case, three of whom are on remand.
The agency, the aforementioned NCB source said, will not demand Rhea’s custodial interrogation as she has already been questioned at length. This means she now goes to jail. Before her arrest, Rhea was taken to hospital for a Covid test and a medical examination.
Her lawyer Satish Maneshinde described her arrest as a “travesty of justice”.
“Three central agencies (ED, CBI, NCB) 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 five leading psychiatrists in Mumbai… who ended up committing suicide due to consumption of illegally administered medicines and drugs,” the lawyer said in a statement.
‘First denied all allegations, confessed smoking a joint’
According to the NCB source, Rhea first denied all allegations of procuring bud, or curated marijuana, but later confessed that she “occasionally smoked a joint” in parties that she went to with her brother and friends.
The source added that she “evaded answering some direct questions” related to procurement of drugs for Rajput, or delivery of drugs to her parents’ house.
The NCB source said Rhea has used her credit card and also e-pay wallets for various transactions related to drugs. The details of these transactions, the source added, have been accessed by the agency.
The NCB’s case hinges on 59 grams of curated marijuana found on alleged drug peddlers Abbas Ramzan Ali Lakhani and Karan Arora, who were arrested in connection with the case earlier and have now been granted bail.
More seizures were made from other alleged drug dealers linked to Showik Chakraborty and Samuel Miranda.
The NCB source also told ThePrint that, during his interrogation, Showik gave “many names (of people) with whom he was dealing in drugs and now he has to be confronted with all (the people)”.
The confrontation between Showik and Rhea, it is learnt, was meant for investigation in specific roles of criminal conspiracy, abetment and various attempts to commit offences.
The source had earlier said the interrogation of Showik, Miranda and Dipesh Sawant, another staffer of Rajput, had helped them find “many links” that hint at the involvement of some “very influential” names in an alleged drug nexus.
The nine people arrested in the case so far are Rhea, Showik, Miranda, Sawant, Zaid and Kaizan (two suspected drug dealers), and three others identified as Abbas Ramzan Ali, Karan Arora and Abdel Basit Parihar. Ali and Arora are currently on bail.
The alleged nexus of these drug dealers and their suspected association with Showik came to light after the arrest of Abbas Ramzan Ali on 28 August. He was allegedly arrested with 46 grams of marijuana on his person.
Abbas allegedly told the NCB that he purchased the drug from Arora, who was subsequently apprehended. Based on the duo’s purported claims, Zaid Vilatra was searched and found to be in possession of Rs 9,55,750 in Indian currency, $2,081 (US dollars), £180 (UK pounds) and 15 Dirhams (UAE).
Zaid allegedly told the NCB that the money constituted “sales proceeds of contraband (marijuana and psychotropic substances)” he had supplied to many persons, and he also disclosed a few names.
Among those believed to have been identified by him is Parihar, an alleged recipient of drugs. Parihar is alleged to have told the NCB that he used to procure drugs from Zaid and one Kaizan Ebrahim on Showik’s instructions.
This report has been updated with additional information