Amidst the raging debate in the country over the issue of narcotic influence in the movie industry, a massive drug scandal has erupted in Karnataka after a top actress in the Kannada film industry was arrested by police officials last week over her alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
A drug scandal is being unearthed by the Crime Branch officials in Bengaluru, which has now led to the arrest of Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi. Many more actresses, musicians, are under the police scanner, who have been indirectly linked to the massive drug racket.
The drug scandal surfaced after the arrest of three individuals M Anoop, Anikha D, and R Ravindra. The Narcotics Bureau of India had busted a drug racket in the city of Bengaluru. The arrests of three drug peddlers had revealed that some prominent musicians, top actors, and children of VIPs had also involved in the drug racket.
Indrajit Lankesh makes shocking disclosure regarding Sandalwood drug racket
Soon after NCB officials busted the drug racket in Bengaluru, popular Kannada director Indrajit Lankesh had made a shocking disclosure regarding the involvement of certain top actors in the drug menace. He had alleged the names of two new actresses had surfaced during an investigation, but they did not question them due to the supposed political connection. Indrajit Lankesh is journalist Gauri Lankesh’s brother who was shot dead outside her residence three years back.
Lankesh had even said that he would be sharing all the information with the police, provided he is given adequate security. The veteran filmmaker had alleged that there is a link between the drug industry and the sandalwood and some actresses consume banned substances at parties and also carried them in their vanity sets during the shoot.
Celebrity manager Prashanth Sambaragi, who is more vocal about drug mafia in Sandalwood, had also alleged that the drug racket in Sandalwood had also connections with Karnataka political circles as well as Bollywood.
Interestingly, Sambaragi also mentioned the involvement of a drug peddler named Imtiyaz Khatri in the Sandalwood drug case. Khatri is currently under the lens of CBI for allegedly supplying drugs to deceased actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Sambaragi had alleged that Imtiyaz had hosted his birthday party in 2017, where Bollywood stars like Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan had attended. At that party, according to Sambaragi, a Karnataka MLA and his son were also present. The MLA was earlier with JD(S) and later joined Congress and won again. Many Sandalwood actors also attended the party, Sambaragi had revealed.
On Saturday, Indrajit Lankesh also gave a statement to the CCB and presented circumstantial evidence like videos, account numbers, or phone numbers of the people who have involvement in the drug racket.
CCB arrests Ragini Dwivedi, her boyfriend
The CCB then began a detailed investigation into the drug racket in the Sandalwood. Last Thursday, the CCB first arrested a second division clerk (SDC) with Regional Transport Office identified as K Ravishankar in connection with the case. As police officials enquired about his involvement in the drug case, he disclosed information about Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi prompting the CCB officials to issue a notice to her asking her to join the investigation.
After the initial investigation, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of Bengaluru on Friday arrested actor Ragini Dwivedi and also carried out a raid at her residence in connection with her involvement in the Sandalwood drug racket. A team of CCB sleuths, including women officials, had reached Dwivedi’s residence and had recovered important materials from her house.
Other actress names crop up during investigation
Reportedly, the name of Ragini came up after a Goa-based drug peddler Ahmed had confessed that he had supplied drugs to Ravi Shankar. Ragini and Ravi Shankar were reportedly in a relationship, which put the actress under the scanner.
During the interrogation, Ravi Shankar had named another person named Rahul, who runs a Casino in Sri Lanka and another relative Karthik Raj.
Interestingly, Rahul’s girlfriend is Sanjana Galrani, whose name has also come up in the ongoing drug case. Karthik Raj, another accused also shares a good equation with another actress Sharmila Mandre. In April this year, Mandre had also involved in a controversy after she had met with a car crash allegedly due to reckless driving on the streets of Bengaluru.
The CCB has now launched an intensified investigation in the drug smuggling case after the names of top influential actresses surfaced in the case. In the days to come, CCB is likely to summon more actors, artists, and models to question them in relation to the drug racket case.
Meanwhile, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) police have now booked 12 people in connection with the Sandalwood drug mafia case. The police have already arrested actor Ragini Dwivedi, her friend Ravishankar, realtor Rahul Shetty and an event manager, Viren Khanna. All the accused have been booked them under Sections 21, 21C, 27A, 27B, and 29B of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.