Alleged drugs dealer Kaizan Ebrahim remanded in judicial custody for 14 days; actor Rhea’s brother Showik being investigated
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Saturday arrested Dipesh Sawant, who worked as a housekeeper for the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, for his alleged role in procurement of drugs. The development came after the agency arrested actor Rhea Chakraborty’s brother Showik and Sushant’s housekeeping manager Samuel Miranda under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The two are in the custody of the NCB custody till September 9.
Mr. Sawant had joined the investigation around 10 p.m. on Friday. “He was subjected to interrogation and confronted with Showik, Samuel, Kaizan Ebrahim and Zaid Vilatra. His statement under Section 67 of the NDPS Act was recorded and on the basis of enough corroborative evidence, he has been placed under arrest,” said an NCB official.
Alleged drug peddlers Mr. Ebrahim and Mr. Vilatra are already in the NCB custody. The official said that Mr. Sawant would be produced before the court in Mumbai on Sunday morning. The agency had got first leads in the Sushant case after it carried out searches in a separate case in the last week of August and arrested two persons, Abbas Ramzan Ali Lakhani and Karn Arora, for allegedly possessing bud (cured marijuana).
In the follow-up probe, the investigators uncovered Mr. Lakhani’s links with Mr. Vilatra , who ran an eatery in Bandra. As his business was not doing well during the lockdown period, he took to peddling drugs, it is alleged.
Mr. Vilatra led the NCB officials to Basit Parihar, who during questioning allegedly disclosed that he procured drugs from Mr. Ebrahim and Mr. Vilatra on the instructions of Mr. Chakraborty. He was also in touch with Mr. Miranda. Subsequently, searches were conducted on the premises of Mr. Chakraborty and Mr. Miranda and the two were questioned before being arrested.
The agency may soon confront Mr. Chakraborty with Mr. Sawant and Rhea.
Mr. Chakraborty has been charged under Sections 8(c) — produce, manufacture, possess, sell and purchase; 20 — punishment for contravention in relation cannabis plant and cannabis; 27 (a) — punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders; 28 — punishment for attempts to commit offences; 29 punishment for abetment and criminal conspiracy, of the NDPS Act.
On August 28, an NCB team apprehended Abbas Lakhani, 21, with 46 gm of marijuana. In a statement, he said he purchased the drug from one Karen Arora. Arora was taken into custody and 13 gm of marijuana was recovered from him. Based on their disclosure, the premises of one Zaid Vilantra was searched and ₹9,55,750, $2081, 180 UK pounds and 15 UAE dirhams were recovered on September 1.
Supplied to many
Mr. Vilantra’s statement was recorded by the NCB, where he stated that the seized money was the sales proceeds of contraband and he had supplied marijuana to many persons. He disclosed the name of Abel Parihar and the latter said he bought and sold marijuana and used to procure drugs from Mr. Vilantra and Mr. Ebrahim as per instructions from Mr. Chakraborty.
The NCB’s remand application said, “There are instances where Mr. Parihar has facilitated drugs and has been in contact with Mr. Miranda and Mr. Chakraborty. He is an active member of the drug syndicate connected with high-profile personalities and drug suppliers. He used to pay and receive money via credit cards, cash and payment gateways.”
Mr. Parihar disclosed the name of Mr. Ebrahim as a supplier of the charas/hashish and the NCB recovered 0.5 gm of dark brown coloured substance purported to be hashish/charas. Based on the disclosure of Mr. Parihar, the NCB summoned Mr. Chakraborty and sought his and Mr. Miranda’s custody for seven days. The magistrate court remanded Mr. Ebrahim in judicial custody for 14 days but he was granted bail by the sessions court.
(With inputs from Devesh K. Pandey)