INDIA.Mumbai: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday submitted a charge sheet against 33 persons, including actress Rhea Chakraborty, before a special NDPS court in Mumbai in connection with the drugs case filed following actor Sushant Singh Rajput death.
Sushant died by suicide at his Bandra residence in northwest Mumbai on June 14, 2020. He was said to be battling manic depression and suffering from bipolar disorder. His employee had said in his statement to agencies investigating the death case, that Sushant would smoke Marijuana joints.
Speaking to the “Transcontinental Times”, NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede confirmed that the charge sheet which was brought in two trunks and was filed against the accused.
Now the matter will be heard by Special judge GB Gurao, presiding over cases under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) act 1985. The Sushant death case is being investigated by three central agencies-CBI, NCB, and Enforcement Directorate(ED). The CBI and ED have not made any arrests or filed a charge sheet in their cases so far.
The NCB charge sheet is over 12,000 pages with annexures running into 50,000 pages and includes WhatsApp chats between the accused, their Call Data Records, and bank documents, among other evidence. The NCB has included the statements of over 200 witnesses in the charge sheet.
The copies will now be verified by the court before being handed over to the accused. The case(No 16/20) has been filed by the NCB following the registration of a previous case(No. 15/20) based on chats provided to the agency by the ED, which was probing a complaint of money-laundering against Rhea and others based on a complaint by Sushant’s father.
The NCB claimed to have found a link to Chakraborty following the arrest of alleged drug peddlers. According to the NCB, Rhea, Rajput’s cook Dipesh Sawant, and his manager Samuel Miranda bought drugs for the late actor on his instructions.
The NCB has also claimed to have seized a commercial quantity of contraband from Anuj Keshwani.The others arrested include foreign nationals-Agisilaos Demetriades(from South Africa), the brother of actor Arjun Rampal’s partner, Arjun’s friend Paul Bartel (an Australian national ). Former Dharma Productions producer Kshitij Prasad has also been booked in the case.
The 33 arrested also includes Rishikesh Pawar, the former assistant director of Sushant, who was said to have been supplying drugs since he started working for the actor in 2018. Pawar had allegedly facilitated the supply of drugs to the late actor during lockdown last year in May. Other than Pawar, NCB arrested a British national Karan Sajnani and his aide Rahila Furniturewala who was the earlier personal assistant for a Bollywood actress, in the 200 kg drug haul.
While most of the accused were released on bail, including Chakraborty and her brother Showik, at least three others continue to remain in jail. Advocate Satish Maneshinde is representing Rhea Chakraborty and others in the case.
The NCB has booked the accused under Sections 8(c) read with Section 20(b) (ii), 22, 27A, 28, 29, and 30 of the NDPS Act. These pertain to alleged use and possession of cannabis and psychotropic substances, financing illicit traffic and harboring offenders as well as abetment and criminal conspiracy, attempt, and preparation of committing an offense.
Under NDPS Act 1985 more than a small quantity but less than the commercial quantity of drugs can attract the punishment of 10 years rigorous imprisonment or fine of Rs. 1,00,000 or both and for the commercial quantity of drugs the punishment is 10-20 years rigorous imprisonment or fine of Rs. 2,00,000 or both.