Indian sleuths achieve 'major breakthrough' in Bollywood drugs scandal
Publish- December 09, 2020, 06:06 PM
S Kumar - UNB Delhi Correspondent
Update- December 09, 2020, 06:34 PM
India's narcotics control authority on Wednesday claimed to have achieved a major breakthrough in a drugs probe linked to Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death, with the "biggest haul" of contraband substances and the arrest of a missing peddler in Mumbai.
Officials of India's Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said they had seized hashish and recreational drug Ecstasy worth Indian rupees 2.5 crore during raids at various locations in Mumbai. Regel Mahakal, the supplier missing since the agency's crackdown on the Bollywood drug mafia, was also arrested.
"Today, we have arrested Regel Mahakal. He was produced in a court and remanded in police custody for two days. At this time, we cannot disclose his links with (Sushant Singh's actor-girlfriend) Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik," NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede told the media.
Officials said that Regel used to supply drugs to several Bollywood celebrities through small-time drug dealers active in Mumbai. "He went missing since NCB started the drugs probe following the death of Sushant Singh and arrest of Anuj Keshwani, who used to supply banned substances to the late actor, Rhea and her brother," said another official.
While Rhea was released by the High Court in Mumbai in October, her brother Showik was granted bail by a special court in Mumbai earlier this month. The siblings were arrested in September in connection with the drugs scandal that gripped the country's film industry following Sushant Singh's suicide in June this year.
Rhea was, in fact, arrested by NCB on September 9, following days of questioning, and accused of procuring cannabis for her late actor-boyfriend, whose body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his Mumbai flat on June 14.
Immediately after the arrest of Rhea, the names of at least 20 top Bollywood celebrities — from actors to filmmakers to designers — surfaced in the drugs case. Several of them, including leading female Bollywood actors — Rakul Preet Singh, Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor — were subsequently grilled by NCB.
The grilling came in the wake of WhatsApp chats retrieved from Rhea's mobile phone indicating that they procured banned substances like cannabis, weed and hash from dealers with links to foreign countries. All the actors, however, reportedly denied any links with such drug dealers.