BY QUAID NAJMI
Mumbai, Sep 8 (IANS) After days of intense speculation and three days of tough grilling, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Tuesday arrested Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty in connection with its ongoing probe to unravel the drugs nexus in the film industry, officials said.
Rhea has been charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for her alleged role in the drugs angle that has emerged during investigation into the June 14 death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Rhea, who has all along pleaded innocence, was quickly whisked away for a mandatory medical test at the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation’s LTMG Sion Hospital.
She is likely to be presented by the NCB before a court for her remand, while her legal team prepares to get her bailed out.
Reacting to the development, Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde termed the arrest a “travesty of justice” in a scathing statement targeting the family of Sushant.
“Three central agencies hounding a single woman — just because she was in love with a drug addict, suffering from mental health issues for several years under the care of five leading psychiatrists in Mumbai, who ended up committing suicide due to consumption of illegally administered medicines and used drugs,” Maneshinde said.
Her much-anticipated arrest came a day after Rhea took time out — at the height of the NCB interrogation sessions — to hit back at the late actor’s family by lodging a police complaint against Sushant’s sister Priyanka Singh and Dr Tarun Kumar of RML Hospital in New Delhi and others, alleging forged medical prescriptions.
A Mumbai Police spokesperson said that the complaint has been lodged with Bandra Police under the Indian Penal Code and the NDPS Act, and in line with the Supreme Court orders, the case has been transferred to the CBI for investigation.
Rhea’s arrest came three days after her brother Showik Chakraborty, Sushant’s home manager Samuel Miranda, and his house helper Dipesh Sawant were arrested and sent in NCB custody till September 9 (Wednesday), besides two other drug peddlers Abdel Basit Parihar and Zaid Vilatra, who are also in NCB custody.
The NCB had earlier said that with these arrests, it hopes to “uproot the drugs citadel in Bollywood and Mumbai” amidst talk of several other Bollywood personalities coming on the agency’s radar.
Earlier, Rhea was grilled multiple times by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate, and previously even questioned by the Mumbai Police, but was finally arrested by the NCB, nearly 11 weeks after Sushant was found dead in his Bandra home.
Displaying confidence in her gait, Rhea appeared calm and composed as she stepped out of the NCB office post-arrest to proceed for a medical and subsequent legal formalities.
The NCB had interrogated Rhea for six hours on Sunday, eight hours on Monday, and around five hours on Tuesday before her eventual arrest.
Maneshinde earlier said that Rhea has not approached any court to seek anticipatory bail in all the cases foisted on her by the Bihar Police, now with the CBI, ED and NCB.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)