The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is likely to file its chargesheet this week in the drugs case registered after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput against more than 30 accused including actor Rhea Chakraborty.
Following the first set of arrests in the case from the first week of September, the agency had six months to file a chargesheet as per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The NCB is learnt to have been in the process of assembling evidence running into more than 70,000 pages including statements, call data records, WhatsApp chats of the accused persons. While the NCB had recorded statements of over 20 accused, leading to more arrests in the case, to establish an alleged link between them to prove that they were part of illicit drug trafficking, a Supreme Court judgment in October last year said that these cannot be the sole basis for convicting an accused. The court had ruled that such statements recorded before NCB officials cannot be considered as confessional statements and will not be admissible as evidence. The NCB, however, maintains that there is other corroborative evidence against the accused.
The case was filed by the NCB following the registration of a previous case based on chats provided to the agency by the Enforcement Directorate. The ED was probing a complaint of money-laundering against Rhea and others based on a complaint by Rajput’s father. Rajput died by suicide at his Bandra residence on June 14. The ED has so far not made any arrests or filed a chargesheet in its case.
The NCB claimed to have found a link to Chakraborty following the arrest of alleged drug peddlers. The NCB claims that Chakraborty, Rajput’s cook, Dipesh Sawant and his manager Samuel Miranda bought drugs for the late actor on his instructions.
Among the arrested accused, the NCB has claimed to have seized a commercial quantity of contraband from Anuj Keshwani. The others arrested include two students, at least two foreign nationals including Agisilaos Demetriades, brother of actor Arjun Rampal’s partner, and Kshitij Prasad, executive producer of Dharmatic Entertainment, the sister concern of Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions. While most of the accused were released on bail, including Chakraborty, her brother Showik, Prasad, and at least three others continue to remain in jail.
The NCB had 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 harbouring offenders as well as abetment and criminal conspiracy, attempt and preparation of committing an offence.