She claims she used to procure drugs through her brother for Sushant, NCB to confront her with Showik today; her lawyer says Rhea is ready for arrest
After her father Indrajit Chakraborty claimed that his family had been “effectively demolished” and lawyer Satish Maneshinde said that his client was being subjected to “witch-hunt” and she was “ready” for arrest, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Sunday grilled actress Rhea Chakraborty for six hours in connection with a drug case registered in connection with actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
A day after it told the city court that it would have to confront Showik Chakraborty with her elder sister (Rhea) and the late actor’s domestic help Dipesh Sawant — who is in now in the agency’s custody, the NCB began to look into the “specific roles/ingredients of conspiracy theory, abetments and various attempts to commit offences” by questioning Rhea for six hours. She has been called by the NCB for questioning once again on Monday.
At Monday’s questioning, Rhea is likely to be confronted with her younger brother Showik, the late actor’s house manager Samuel Miranda and Sawant.
Showik, Samuel and Sawant, who was arrested on Saturday night, have been booked under 20 (b) and other sections of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NPDS) Act.
Rhea — whose brother Showik was arrested along with late actor’s house manager Samuel Miranda by the NCB on Friday night — reportedly admitted that she was procuring drugs for Sushant through her arrested brother (Showik). She is understood to have acknowledged that she
knew about Samuel purchasing drugs for the actor from drug peddler Zaid.
Informed agency sources said that the investigators questioned her about the WhatsApp exchanges between Rhea and others that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had shared with the CBI and NCB alleging “procuring and usage” of drugs. It was on the basis of this WhatsApp message trail that the ED had joined the investigations on August 26 into the allegations that Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty used to procure banned drugs illegally from dealers and administer them to the late actor.
It may be recalled that the messages accessed by a few television channels on August 25-26, Rhea talks about drugs and in a chat between her and Gaurav Arya who is allegedly a drug dealer, Rhea writes: “In case we speak about hard drugs, I haven’t been doing too much. Tried MDMA once”. In another message sent to Gaurav Arya, she asks: “You have MD?”.
In the first chat message, Miranda writes to Rhea “Hi Rhea, the stuff is almost over”. In the next message, Jaya Saha tells Rhea: ‘Use 4 drops in tea, let him sip it … Give it 30-40 mins to kick in’. Then, there emerges a message in a chat between Rhea & Jaya Saha: “I have asked him to coordinate with Shruti (Modi) & reach it up”. In yet another message, Rhea writes to Jaya Saha “Thank you so much” Reply from Jaya: “No problem bro, hope it helps”.
In the seventh and last accessed chat message, Miranda writes to Rhea: ‘Should we take it from Showik’s friend? But he has just hash & bud’.
The WA chat messages hint at the fact that Rhea was allegedly procuring drugs for use by the actor.
On her part, Rhea had earlier denied consuming drugs and said that she was prepared for a drug test anytime. She, however, admitted that Sushant used to take marijuana and despite her efforts, she could not control him.
Rhea, who was mentally prepared for her possible arrest by the NCB, walked into the NCB’s Zonal Office on the third floor of the Exchange Building at Ballard Estate in south Mumbai, around 12 noon. The actress was at the investigating agency’s office till 6 pm.
“We have recorded Rhea Chakraborty’s statement. But, because of her late arrival today, the investigation could not be completed. So, she has been summoned tomorrow as well,” NCB’s Zonal Director, Sameer Wankhede said.
Earlier in the morning, an NCB team – comprising among others Wankhede and a lady official had gone to fetch Rhea from her home at PrimRose Apartments at Juhu-Santacruz. However the actress opted to go in her own car along with a Mumbai Police escort.
That Rhea’s family was reconciled to the possibility of the actress being arrested during the course of her questioning could be evidenced from the statements made by her father Indrajit Chakraborty and lawyer Satish Maneshinde ahead of her joining the investigations at the NCB.
Accusing the investigating agencies of “effectively demolishing” his family (“a middle-class family”), Lt Col (retd) Indrajit said: “Congratulations India, you have arrested my son, I’m sure next on the line is my daughter and I don’t know who is next thereafter. You have effectively demolished a middle-class family. But of course, for the sake of justice, everything is justified. Jai Hind.”
Simultaneously, Maneshinde caused a flutter in the media by saying that his client Rhea “is ready for arrest as this is a witch hunt and if loving someone is a crime, she will face the consequences of her love.”
“Being innocent, she has not approached any court for anticipatory bail in all the cases foisted by Bihar Police now with CBI, ED and NCB,” Maneshinde said.
The statements by Rhea’s father Indrajit and lawyer Maneshinde appeared like an effort on their party to mount pressure on the NCB to go slow on the arrest of the actress.
In an application filed before a city court on Saturday seeking the remand of Showik and Samuel, the NCB had said, “He (Showik) has to be confronted with Dipesh Sawant and Rhea Chakrborty also, as there are specific roles/ingredients of conspiracy theory, abetments and various attempts to commit offences”.
The remand application had also given indications about the NCB’s line of investigations, when the agency stated that “the financial trail of all their previous transactions of drug purchase has to be verified…. Further some characters are to be verified, who as per CDR analysis, WhatsApp chat and preliminary interrogation are deeply entrenched in the drug trafficking, which is a serious threat to public safety and public health”.
While seeking the custody of Showik and Samuel, the NCB had also made a startling claim in its remand application filed before a metropolitan court here on Saturday that the “drug angle” in the Sushant death case “is highly substantive” and “needs to be investigated thoroughly so as to uproot the drug citadel in Mumbai especially in Bollywood”.
Showik’s involvement emerged after the NCB Mumbai and New Delhi teams on August 28 arrested Abbas R Lakhani and Karn V Arora from old Kurla and Chandivali, Powai, each with possession of 46 gms of marijuana/ganja and 13 gms, respectively.
The two alleged drug peddlers disclosed the involvement of Zaid Vilatra whose home was raided to unearth Rs 9.50 lakh, USD-2,081, 180 British Pounds and UAE 15 Dirhams which they confessed were the proceeds of sale of drugs like marijuana/ganja/bud to many people in the city.
Vilatra was arrested on September 2 and remanded to custody for 7 days by the same court, and during interrogation, he revealed the names of a buyer Abdel Basit Parihar, who was arrested on September 3.
The role of Rhea’s brother Showik Chakraborty and his purported links with people nabbed by NCB are under the scanner of the NCB.
Rhea, her parents Indrajit and Sandhya Chakraborty, her brother Showik, Sushaant’s ex-manager Shruti Manager Shruti Modi and others have been named in an FIR lodged by the actor’s father KK Singh with Rajiv Nagar police station in Patna. It was on the basis of this FIR that the Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the Sushant Singh Rajput death case to the CBI on August 19.
Rhea, her parents, her brother and others have been booked as part of this FIR under sections 341 (wrongful restraint) 342 (wrongful confinement, 380 (theft), 406 (breach of trust),420 (cheating), 306 (abetting suicide) and 120-B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The CBI, ED and NCB are investigating the case from different angles.
Monday, 07 September 2020 | TN Raghunatha Mumbai
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