MUMBAI: After three days of questioning, the Narcotics Control Bureau on Tuesday arrested actor Rhea Chakraborty on charges of allegedly arranging and financing consumption of marijuana by her boyfriend, Sushant Singh Rajput, with the help of her brother, Showik, Sushant’s house manager Samuel Miranda and cook Dipesh Sawant.
In its remand application, the NCB described Rhea as part of an “active drug syndicate” connected with drug suppliers. The agency, however, did not ask for her custody and instead requested that she be sent to judicial custody. A magistrate remanded her in judicial custody till September 22.
Sources said her lawyer Satish Maneshinde is likely to move sessions court for bail on Wednesday. He termed her arrest a “travesty of justice”. Rhea faces a minimum punishment of 10 years in jail and maximum of 20 years and a fine not less than Rs 1 lakh.
Rhea has been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Pyschotropic Substances Act under section 8(c) which deals with possession and purchase, 20B (II) for possession, purchase and transporting, 27 for financing illicit traffic, 28 for attempt to commit offences, and 29 for abetment and criminal conspiracy.
“We are satisfied with her three days of interrogations and we don’t need her custody any more. Normally we look at international and inter-state drug trafficking and usually this is not our mandate… we look for big fish. But now we are getting information and we will not spare anyone whose names are figuring in the investigations,” said NCB deputy DG Mutha Ashok Jain.
The NCB’s mandate is to bust organised drug syndicates and unearth factories that are into manufacturing contraband. The application adds: “These deliveries (of marijuana) used to be received by aides of Sushant and every delivery and payment was in conscious knowledge of Rhea Chakraborty and even sometimes payment and choice of drugs was confirmed from Rhea.”
Rhea is the tenth person to be arrested in the NCB’s probe into drug use involving Rajput. The remand application said Rhea’s brother Showik has revealed that he facilitated delivery of drugs through peddlers Basit Parihar, Kaizan Ibrahim and Zaid Vilatra.
Showik is accused of or ganising weed (marijuana) for Sushant between September 2019 and March 2020. There are chat messages between Rhea, Showik and Samuel involving discussions of procurement of drugs.
In her media interviews, Rhea had said Sushant was a substance abuser and her attempts to wean him off did not yield results. The ED had found chat messages pertaining to drugs on Rhea’s mobile, which triggered this investigation. The ED passed on the details to the NCB.
NCB officials said she was placed under arrest at around 3.30pm. Rhea appeared before the NCB at 9.30am on Tuesday and carried a bag containing a pair of clothes and a water bottle with her.
Terming her arrest a “travesty of justice”, her lawyer Satish Maneshinde said, “Three central agencies hounding a single woman just because she was in love with a drug addict who was suffering from mental health issues for several years and was under the care of five leading psychiatrists in Mumbai, who ended up committing suicide due to consumption of illegally administered medicines and used drugs…” Immediately after her arrest, NCB officials took her to Sion hospital for medical examination.