Bengaluru drug bust: Actor Ragini Dwivedi arrested, another actor’s friend held
Bengaluru: In a surprise move, the police, armed with a search warrant, raided the home of Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi early Friday and hunted for evidence into the massive drug racket that is emerging in the state. Later, by noon, she was picked up and questioned for over seven hours following which her arrest was registered.
Ragini had Thursday said she would appear before the Central Crime Branch (CCB) on Monday, but the police suspected that the time would be used to destroy evidence of drug abuse.
In a statement in the evening, Bengaluru Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said, “Ragini Dwivedi has been arrested and taken into custody.”
Besides, the actress, two people – a businessman named Rahul and Viren Khanna — were arrested, taking the total of people in custody to four.
According to Patil, Viren Khanna is a big catch. “He (Khanna) is the main person who organises big parties where drugs are consumed. He was in Delhi and two CCB police inspectors had gone to Delhi and arrested him,” the Joint Commissioner said.
On Thursday, the police had arrested K Ravi Shankar, a clerk in the Road Transport Office. He allegedly had close links to Ragini and was the supplier of drugs to the actor.
Despite being a clerk, Ravi Shankar maintained a lavish lifestyle and attended high-end parties with Rahul. They obtained drugs foreign nationals. According to the police, the two were peddlers and consumers.
“After rigorous questioning, we learned that he (Ravi Shankar) was attending parties and procuring drugs from various places. He has confessed to his activities and we are bringing in more people in connection with this case,” Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said.
Rahul is reportedly a close associate of Sandalwood actor Sanjjana Galrani. He used to visit other countries and procure synthetic drugs, which he allegedly procured for various parties, where several celebrities from the Kannada film industry also attended.
“We have not issued any notice to actor Sanjjana. The investigation has just begun and we will take this one step at a time,” Kamal Pant added.
The police have now expanded the probe to the next level and based on the evidence given by those in custody, a few others have been called for questioning.
The CCB had intensified its investigation into a drugs scandal after the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested three people from the city, who were allegedly supplying drugs to singers and actors in the Kannada film industry.
A new angle is also being looked into with information coming in that Binesh Kodyeri, the son of Kerala CPM general secretary Kodyeri Balakrishnan, had frequent telephonic conversations Anoop Muhammad, one of the key persons arrested in connection with drug peddling in Bengaluru. It was Binesh who financed the hotel set up by Anoop.
Ragini Dwivedi, whose family hails from Haryana’s Rewari, was born in Bengaluru. She made her debut in the movie Veera Madakari in 2009. She shot to fame for her role in Kempe Gowda, Ragini IPS, Bangari and Shiva.
Ragini had applied for anticipatory bail but the hearing was postponed to Monday, September 7. Her application will now be treated as one for regular bail and she will be produced before a judge via video conference. She is expected to remain in CCB custody till Monday.