Sandalwood drug scandal: Bengaluru CCB Anti-Narcotics Wing Police arrests Kannada Actor Ragini Dwivedi,three others in connection with drugs case :

Pramesh S Jain

The Anti-Narcotics Wing of Central Crime Branch (CCB),Bengaluru on Friday arrested Kannada  Sandalwood actor Ragini Dwivedi in connection with its investigation into the alleged drug abuse in Kannada film industry.

The accused has been identified as, Ravishankar,Rahul Shetty,Ragini Dwivedi,and Viren Khanna.

Kannada film actor Ragini Dwivedi,whose home was searched on Friday morning for an investigation into drug abuse,has been arrested, the police said.

The actor was taken for questioning by CCB sleuths after conducing a search operation at two of her apartments in Yelahanka from around 6 am today.

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) had served a notice to the actor on Wednesday, asking her to depose before them on Thursday, but she sent a team of lawyers seeking time till Monday.

However,the police raided Ms Dwivedi’s residence early this morning after getting a search warrant from a court and took her to the CCB office in the afternoon to question her,an officer saidLater in the evening, in a statement,Bengaluru Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said,Ragini Dwivedi has been arrested and taken into custody.He even said,in the search conducted morning, important materials were seized from Ragini Dwivedi house.

This is a big netwrok of drugs peddling and consumption.There are people like Viren Khanna who organise these high end parties and give a platform for drug consumption.Then there are celebraties and others who go there and consume like the film actress.Then the drug suppliers like Ravi and Rahul who supply the drugs bought through other drug peddlers,mostly foreigners.

We wil be arresting accused involved in all the 3 areas that is orgainsing parties,consumption and peddling.What was found in search has been sent to FSL and we are waiting for the FSL report

.According to police,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,Sridhar Poojary and Lakshmikantaiah had gone to Delhi and arrested him,Mr Patil said.

Besides, the actor, two people named Rahul and Viren Khanna were arrested,he said.With this, four people have been arrested in the case.

The police had earlier said arrested one K Ravishankar, who has links within the Kannada film industry, in connection with the drugs case and a court has sent him to police custody for five days.

According to reports,Ragini was summoned to appear before CCB officials on Thursday. However, she failed to depose and sought time till Monday.Meanwhile, the CCB officials today searched her flats and her Innova car.

It is believed that Ravi and Ragini allegedly held parties and consumed drugs including cocaine, LSD and MDMA.

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.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner,Kamal Pant told reporters, that the CCB began a probe into the case after the police seized a truck-load of marijuana in August.Upon interrogating the accused,the CCB learned that Ravi Shankar, a clerk at the Regional Transport Office in Jayanagar,was allegedly involved in procuring drugs and used to attend high end rave parties in Bengaluru.Ravi Shankar is a friend of actor Ragini Dwivedi.Many pictures and videos have surfaced on the media that show Ragini and Ravi at various parties.

We learned that the person working in the government office was related to someone in the film industry.While the CCB was investigating him (Ravi Shankar),we learned that he used to attend parties and provide drugs and also consume them,”Commissioner Kamal Pant added.

The CCB arrested Ravi Shankar on Thursday after questioning him for six hours.The police seized his cellphone and found photos and other evidence of the people who attended these parties with him.After rigorous questioning,we learned that he was attending these 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,Kamal Pant said.

When asked about his connection with Ragini Dwivedi,Kamal Pant said that Ravi Shankar allegedly confessed to have been connected to her.He used to procure drugs from a foriegn national and we will arrest this individual soon, Kamal Pant added.

Meanwhile,the CCB has also arrested a close associate of Sandalwood actor Sanjjana Galrani named Rahul.A real estate business man and architect,Rahul allegedly used to visit countries neighbouring India and procure synthetic drugs, which he allegedly procured for various parties, where several celebrities from the Kannada film industry also attended.

We arrested Rahul and after investigation,we have learned that he used to go to other countries to procure drugs and also that he and several celebrities attended parties abroad too. 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.

He even said we have taken suo motu cognisance of the issue and an FIR has been registered at Cottonpet Police Station naming Ravi Shankar and Rahul as prime accused in the drug case.

Who is Ragini Dwivedi?

 Ragini, whose family is from Haryana’s Rewari, was born in Bengaluru. She made her acting debut in 2009 with Veera Madakari.She has also starred in movies such as Kempegowda, Shiva, Bangari, Ragini IPS,Namaste Madam, among others.

What is the Karnataka drug abuse case?

The current drug scandal surfaced after the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) conducted raids at the residences of three drug peddlers in Bengaluru last month.

The three persons, including former television actor Anikha D,a drug peddler named Ravindra and another man,Anoop Mohammed have since been arrested.In fact,hundreds of MDMA pills were also seized from their residences.

Filmmaker Indrajit Lankesh claimed drug abuse in industry:

 Ragini is the first celebrity to be taken into custody after film producer Indrajit Lankesh recently made claims about drug abuse in the industry. The filmmaker submitted a list comprising the names of 15 actors, musicians and directors who allegedly consumed drugs, to the CCB.