Rhea, Showik ‘lively members of drug syndicate’: NCB to HC

Mumbai, September 29

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has opposed the bail pleas filed by actress Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik Chakraborty in the Bombay High Court following their arrest in a drugs case related to actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

The siblings were “active members of a drug syndicate that was connected with high society personalities and drug suppliers”, the NCB said in an affidavit filed before the HC on Monday.

The NCB further said both Rhea Chakraborty and her brother had “abetted and financed” drug transactions.

Therefore, the agency had booked them under the stringent Section 27A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, it said in the affidavit.

Section 27A provides punishment for up to 10 years for financing drug trafficking and harbouring offenders and also carries a bar on the grant of bail.

On previous hearings, the actress and her brother opposed the application of the above section in their case.

Their counsel Satish Maneshinde last week argued that the section did not apply in the present case as Rhea Chakraborty occasionally paid for drugs that were consumed only by her boyfriend, late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

He had further argued that the drugs seized by the NCB so far in the case amounted to just 59 grams, which wasn’t a commercial quantity, therefore, Section 27A should not be applied in their case.

On September 24, a bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal suggested that the NCB file its reply to the bail pleas of Rhea Chakraborty and her brother, who were arrested earlier this month and are currently in judicial custody.

The court had also said that the NCB must elaborate on the provisions of Section 27A and its applicability in the present case.

NCB’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede on Monday submitted two separate affidavits in the HC wherein it said: “Electronic evidence such as WhatsApp chats, records were retrieved from mobile, laptop and hard-disk and it indicated payment made for drugs.”

“Thus, there is ample evidence to show present applicant Rhea has not only regularly dealt with but also financed illicit trafficking of drugs,” the NCB said.

The NCB further said in the affidavit that Rhea Chakraborty was aware of the fact that Rajput was into the consumption of drugs and yet she had “harboured and concealed” it.

“This would tantamount to harbouring. Rhea also allowed her residence for drug storage and consumption by Rajput,” the affidavit said.

“It is clear from the statements and electronic evidence gathered by the NCB that the applicant is an active member of the drug syndicate connected with high society personalities and drug suppliers. There is sufficient evidence that she is involved in drug trafficking,” it said.

It also said that Rhea Chakraborty and her brother used to facilitate drug deliveries and payment through credit cards, cash and other payment gateways.

If the siblings were released on bail, they could hamper the probe that is currently in a “crucial stage”, the NCB said.

The high court will hear the bail pleas of the actress and her brother along with the bail pleas of co-accused Samuel Miranda, Abdul Parihar and Dipesh Sawant on Tuesday.

Rajput (34) was found hanging in his home in suburban Bandra on June 14. PTI

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