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SSR case: Narco sleuths get vital leads on cartels supplying drugs to filmstars

PUNJAB NEWSLINE | September 04, 2020 09:00 AM

NEW DELHI: The drug connection in Sushant Singh Rajput's death case is just a tip of the iceberg.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which is investigating the 'drug angle' in Sushant's death case, has gathered vital leads on other cartels supplying drugs to several Bollywood personalities in Mumbai following the interrogation of two drug peddlers, Abbas Lakhani and Karan Arora, highly placed sources in the NCB told IANS.

Based on these leads, the NCB would launch a nationwide crackdown on cartels involved in drug trafficking in Mumbai and other key metros.

The entire operation to unearth big-time drug syndicates and cartels is being supervised by NCB chief Rakesh Asthana, a 1984 batch IPS officer, who earlier cracked one of the biggest international cocaine syndicates in India originating from Columbia, late last year.

Top sources in NCB said that electronic evidence gathered by the bureau during the interrogation of Abbas Lakhani and Karan Arora revealed that leading Bollywood personalities were not only supplied marijuana or buds, but high quality cocaine was also being pushed into the film industry.

The NCB sleuths are gathering more evidence which eventually would result in a 'nationwide coordinated action' against the drug cartels, hawala operators and key peddlers involved in supplying narcotic substances to some of the best known names in the film Industry.

Based on the WhatsApp chats of Bollywood actress Rhea Chakravarty, the girlfriend of late Sushant Singh Rajput, related to supply of buds, the NCB also apprehended an eatery shop owner in Bandra named Zaid Vilatra.

The link between Zaid, Abbas and Karan was later established. Interrogation of another suspect, Basit Parhiar, also gave important clues to the NCB.

The investigation into the drug connection in the Sushant Singh Rajput case has so far revealed that besides supplying buds, certain cocaine cartels active in Mumbai were also supplying high quality drugs to various filmstars.

Cocaine priced at Rs 5 crore per kg is a highly expensive party drug usually supplied to high-end customers in the metros.

In Sushant's case, the WhatsApp chats suggest that only buds, which come quite cheap in comparison to cocaine, were being delivered.

"However, the peddlers during their sustained interrogation revealed that the cartels active in Mumbai were also supplying cocaine to certain clients," a source added.

When asked about the involvement of cartels in pushing drugs to hi-end clients, including film personalities in Mumbai, Asthana refused to divulge any information.

"The matter is very sensitive. At this stage we cannot share any information. The agency will inform, if there are any further arrests," Asthana, who had cracked several top cases, including the multi-billion fodder scam of Bihar, during his tenure in CBI, told IANS.

Sources said that since the NCB was roped in to probe the drug angle in Sushant's case, the senior IPS officer has deployed a team comprising the best sleuths of NCB to thoroughly investigate the narcotics angle in the mystery death of the Bollywood star which has been making headlines ever since Sushant was found hanging at his Bandra residence on June 14.

While the entire probe into the death case is being carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the apex drug agency is only dealing with the drugs angle.

Last year, on a tip-off from the Australian Federal Police(AFP), top sleuths of the NCB had busted one of the biggest ever drug cartels in India, linked with Canadian and Colombian drug lords, in early December 2019.

Working on inputs from the AFP, the NCB officials discovered that many shipments of cocaine reached Australia via Canada. The entire racket linked to so many countries had an Indian connection.

Cocaine was also being pushed into India by these cartels through a nationwide network of peddlers primarily operating from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Goa. As of now, several persons have been arrested by the NCB in its trail to unmask the kingpins of cocaine smuggling in the country.


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