By Anand Singh
New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) Bollywood has had run-ins with drug law enforcement agencies in the past, but the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June this year opened a pandora’s box for the entertainment industry which brought the premiere investigative agencies — the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) into the scene, creating a lot of buzz.
Rajput was found hanging in his Bandra apartment on June 14, just days after the death of his former celebrity manager Disha Salian.
After the death of the actor, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar recommended a CBI probe on the request of Sushant’s father K. K. Singh.
Following the notification from the Centre, the CBI registered a case on August 6 against Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, her father Indrajit Chakraborty, mother Sandhya Chakraborty, brother Showik Chakraborty, his former house manager Samuel Miranda, former manager Shruti Modi and others.
The CBI handed over the case to its Special Investigation Team (SIT) which has earlier probed the VVIP AgustaWestland and the Vijay Mallya bank fraud cases.
However, the CBI team took time to reach Mumbai as Rhea approached the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the Bihar Police FIR to Mumbai.
The CBI team reached Mumbai on August 20, a day after the Supreme Court gave its nod for the federal agency probe.
The CBI team along with the CFSL and a medical board team from the AIIMS Forensic department visited the flat where Sushant was found dead on June 14. The forensic team also recreated the crime scene.
The CBI team collected all the case records from the Mumbai Police and also questioned the doctors of the Cooper Hospital where his autopsy was carried on. The CBI also questioned several people in connection with the case.
Meanwhile, the ED also registered a case of money laundering on July 31, a week before the CBI to probe the complaint of Singh alleging diversion of funds from the bank account of Sushant to others.
The CBI and the ED then questioned Rhea, her father, brother and several others in connection with the case.
Both the agencies are still silent on the latest developments.
The NCB also registered a case related to drugs on August 26, a day after the ED wrote a letter to the drug-law enforcement agency after it got the alleged chats discussing drugs.
The NCB then exposed Bollywood stars as it summoned several of the A listers of the entertainment industry.
The NCB questioned Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shradhha Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh in connection with the drugs-related case.
The NCB also questioned Deepika’s former manager Karishma Prakash, fashion designer Simone Khambatta and several others in connection with the case.
The NCB also arrested Rhea and her brother Showik in connection with the case.
However, Rhea was granted bail after 28 days on October 7. Meanwhile, Showik, who was also arrested on September 4, was granted bail on December 2 after staying in jail for almost three months.
The NCB also arrested several players linked to the case including former Dharma Productions executive producer Kshitij Ravi Prasad in connection with the case.
As the NCB widened its probe into the drugs case, it also arrested Arjun Rampal’s South African girlfriend Gabriella Demetriades’s brother Agisilaos Demetriades in a drugs-related case on October 19.
The NCB also questioned Rampal and his girfriend in connection with the case in November and December this year respectively.
Meanwhile, the NCB also sought a reply from noted director and producer Karan Johar over the alleged party video where several Bollywood celebrities were seen.
In his reply to NCB, Johar clarified that no drugs were used in the party at his residence in 2019. The NCB has sought Johar’s reply in connection with a complaint from Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
Bollywood would definitely want to forget 2020 and start afresh in 2021.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Anand Singh