New Delhi: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is believed to have stumbled upon a widely-prevalent drug culture in Bollywood as it looks into the alleged substance abuse angle thrown up by the investigation into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
Sources in the NCB, India’s apex drug law enforcement agency, told ThePrint that a “high percentage” of “B-Town celebrities and aspirants allegedly procure and consume bud”, a curated form of marijuana sold for as high as Rs 5,000/gram.
The drug is as popular as cocaine, the sources said, adding that it is often procured on the dark-web using cryptocurrency and is not bought through drug peddlers.
Investigation by the NCB, which has arrested four alleged dealers — Abbas Lakhani, Karn Arora, Zaid Vilatra and Abdul Basit — has revealed that the drug was allegedly being sourced and procured by many celebrities, including Rhea and her brother Showik Chakraborty.
A source said the dealers were identified from chats allegedly exchanged between them and Showik and Rhea, the source said.
The Enforcement Directorate had last week, while probing the money laundering case in the Sushant Singh case, claimed to have found several WhatsApp chats of Rhea and her brother Showik related to consumption, procurement and transportation of drugs, which was then shared with the NCB.
Last week the NCB registered a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and began the preliminary investigation supervised by IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, who is handling the additional charge of DG NCB.
“It is then that we got a pool of information on how most of the B-Town is using the bud and how often it is procured,” the source said. “This will lead to more arrests as we dig deeper.”
‘Will arrange good bud, forwarding some numbers’
WhatsApp chats with the NCB and accessed by ThePrint, show that Rhea’s brother Showik was in direct touch with the dealers and arranged the drug for his friends, Rhea and also Sushant’s home manager, Samuel Miranda.
In one of the chats a person (name withheld) is asking Showik for a “small favour”. He tells Showik that he “needs to score”.
In return, Showik replies, “Let me ask. Speaking to my dealer and telling you.”
“My dealer is not available, but my friend is sending a few numbers for bud. It’ll be good bud,” Showik adds.
Showik then sends some numbers and then asks his contact to use the name “Suryadeep”.
“Use the name Suryadeep and they’ll sort you,” Showik says.
Showik then sends numbers of one Shane Fletcher, Zaib Bu and says, “These guys are for Bud. If nothing else works. This is for bud. Use basit’s name,” he says.
According to the same source, names of these dealers cropped up after the NCB analysed these chats.
“The chats established that Showik was in touch with the peddlers and was also passing on numbers to his friends,” the source quoted above said.
He added NCB has also accessed chats of Rhea Chakraborty with Showik discussing drugs.
“In the chats she asks Showik if he has enough stock for a month,” the source said. “She asks Showik, ‘Kitna saman pada hai? Kafi hai? The two even discuss bud and she asks him to score,” the source said.
ThePrint reached Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde through WhatsApp who said he did not wish to comment on the NCB’s claim.
‘Showik asked Rajput’s house manager to pay for drug’
On 1 September, the NCB arrested Zaid Vilatra. His call detail records (CDR) revealed that he was in touch with one Basit Parihar and Suryadeep Malhotra, both contacts of Showik Chakraborty.
According to the source, Showik even had chats with the two men regarding drug consumption and procurement.
According to Showik’s chats, accessed by ThePrint, he had shared the contact number of Zaid with Samuel Miranda, the house manager of Sushant Singh, and asked him to pay him Rs 10,000 for 5 grams of bud.
“Samuel Miranda had then contacted Zaid for the first time at the instruction of Showik Chakraborty,” the same source said.
“Prior to Samuel’s contact, there was a call from Basit Parihar to Zaid,” he added.
“There is a very high possibility that Bashit had given his reference for providing the contraband to Samuel, who will be calling Zaid. Samuel Miranda has called Zaid three times,” the source said.
During interrogation, Zaid also allegedly disclosed that he paid Rs 10,000 for 5 gram of drugs to two persons, who had come to receive him.
“The location analysis reveals that on 17 March, Zaid and Samuel Miranda were in the same location at the time of last call,” the source said.
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