Sleuths of the Karnataka Central Crime Branch (CCB) searched the house of Kannada film actress Ragini Dwivedi in the city’s northern suburb as part of its inquiry into the alleged drug links in the Kannada film industry, police said on Friday.
“With a search warrant from the court, 7 CCB sleuths, including a woman police inspector searched Ragini’s entire flat to find if banned drugs were kept at home,” Bengaluru joint commissioner of police Sandeep Patil told reporters here.
As the search was underway since morning, Patil did not say if drugs were found in Ragini Dwivedi’s house though the sleuths scanned all the rooms, kitchen and flower pots kept in the balcony.
“Details of the search will be given after the raid is completed,” said Patil and confirmed that Ragini Dwivedi actress was at home when the sleuths entered her flat with the search warrant.
The search was conducted on a tip-off from her friend Ravi Shankar, who was arrested on Thursday evening for allegedly peddling drugs. Said Patil, “We have, however, seized Ragini’s 4 mobile phones and a laptop from her flat.”
Patil added, “We have secured Shankar’s custody from a local court for five days to interrogate him to ascertain to whom all he supplied the banned drugs.” According to sources, Shankar is an official in the state Regional Transport Office (RTO) at Jayanagar in the city’s upscale suburb.
“Shankar is learnt to have attended rave parties with Ragini Dwivedi where drugs like marijuana (ganja), cocaine and hashish were used,” said a source.
The CCB summoned Ragini Dwivedi again to its office on Friday for inquiring into her alleged drug links after she did not appear on Thursday before its sleuths and sought time till September 7.
City police have begun a crackdown since Monday after noted Kannada film producer Inderjit Lankesh alleged that about a dozen Sandalwood actors were into drugs and there was a nexus between them and drug mafias.
Ragini Dwivedi is the first Kannada film actor to be summoned by the CCB after Lankesh on August 29 alleged that actors and musicians were involved in consuming banned drugs during shooting sessions and at rave parties organised by various stakeholders.
Lankesh’s startling revelations about the rampant abuse of banned drugs in the multi-crore film industry came three days after the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) busted a drug trafficking racket in the city and arrested former Kannada television actress D. Anikha and two of her accomplices, R. Ravindran and M. Anoop, on August 26.
The central agency also seized huge cache of drugs from the accused, including 145 ecstasies or MDMA pills and Rs 2.2 lakh in cash from the Royal Suites Hotel Apartment in the city’s northeast suburb on August 21 and more pills in a follow-up raid last week.
The drug racket is suspected to supply recreational and party drugs to Kannada actors, children of VIPs, students and others.
“Noted musicians and actors in the Kannada film industry are under the scanner after their links to drugs came to light,” an NCB official had said earlier.
Lankesh came to the CCB office earlier in the day for the second time on summons by Patil, who is investigating the multi-crore drug scam that rocked the Kannada film industry.
“I presented myself before the CCB for the second time on summons. But I cannot divulge the details of what I presented to the officials. Let them (CCB) investigate the charges and truth will come out,” asserted Lankesh.
Inderjit Lankesh also claimed that he had given material evidence on the alleged drug abuse among the Sandalwood actors.
Lankesh (43) is the son of noted editor late P. Lankesh, who had launched the popular “Lankesh patrika” (weekly tabloid) in Kannada in the 1980s.
“As I am associated with the film industry as a producer, director and writer, I came to know that some of the parties in the Sandalwood circle are hosted by drug mafias,” Inderjit Lankesh said.