B’luru cops quiz Ragini Dwivedi about drug links in Kannada film industry

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Sleuths of the Karnataka Central Crime Branch (CCB) questioned actress Ragini Dwivedi about the alleged drug links in the Kannada film industry and if she too was an addict, a police official said on Friday.

“Ragini is not detained but being questioned in our office on the alleged drug links in the Kannada film industry and if she also takes narcotic drugs,” CCB Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) K.P. Gowtham told IANS here.

Ragini, 30, drove to the CCB office following a summons hours after its sleuths searched her posh flat in the city’s northern suburb to find out if banned drugs were hidden.

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“Ragini reported to our office in response to our second notice after she failed to appear before our inquiry team on Thursday. Interrogation is underway,” said Gowtham.

Earlier in the day, seven CCB sleuths, including a woman police inspector raided Ragini’s flat with a search warrant from a local court to find if banned drugs like marijuana (ganja), cocaine, cannabis or hashish were kept at her home.

“Details of the search will be given after the raid is completed,” Bengaluru joint commissioner of police Sandeep Patil told reporters here.

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Ragini was in the house 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 in the city.

“We have seized Ragini’s 4 mobile phones and a laptop from her flat,” said Patil.

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“The city police secured Shankar’s custody from a local court for five days for interrogation to ascertain to whom all he supplied the banned drugs,” Patil said on Thursday evening.

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 where drugs were used,” said a source.

The city police have begun a crackdown since Monday after noted Kannada film producer Inderjit Lankesh alleged that about a dozen actors were into drugs and there was a nexus between them and the drug mafias.

Ragini is the first Kannada film actor to be summoned by the CCB after Lankesh on August 29 alleged that actors and musicians were consuming banned drugs during shooting sessions and at rave parties organised by various people.

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 a huge cache of drugs from the accused, including 145 ecstasy 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. –IANS/fb/rs/bg

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