Actor Arjun Rampal was today questioned by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for over six hours in connection with the anti-drugs probe that began with inquiries into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June. As he was leaving the agency’s office in south Mumbai, Mr Rampal, 47, clarified that the substances found during a NCB raid on his residence this week were part of a prescription.
“I am fully cooperating with the investigation. I have nothing to do with drugs. The medicine found at my residence was prescribed. The prescription has been found and handed over,” he said.
Mr Rampal also praised the drug agency officers for “doing a good job” and said: “I support them in the investigation.” He also said, “Sameer Wankhede (one of the investigating officers) is doing a good job.”
In a passing comment to a reporter he said: “You also take the medicine, it will help you.”
The actor’s home had been searched on Monday – after which the summons had been issued – and his girlfriend, Gabriella Demetriades, was questioned for nearly six hours each on Wednesday and Thursday. Her brother, Agisialos Demetriades, has been arrested twice over alleged drugs links.
The NCB has also arrested Paul Bartel, an Australian architect whose name emerged after the questioning of Agisialos Demetriades, a South African national who is currently in the agency’s custody. Mr Bartel, who was arrested in Mumbai, will be produced in court today.
Also on Monday, film producer Firoz Nadiadwala was summoned by the NCB. A day earlier his wife, Shabana Saeed, was arrested after investigators allegedly found 10 grams of marijuana at their home in Mumbai’s Juhu during a raid.
The Nadiadwala residence had been searched following the arrest of drug peddler Wahid Abdul Kadir Shaikh in Andheri a few days earlier. As the agency tracked Shaikh’s clients, links to Ms Saeed, who allegedly purchased 10 grams of the contraband from him, emerged, the NCB said.
Ms Saeed got bail on Tuesday.
Over the last two months top Bollywood actors Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Rakulpreet Singh and Shraddha Kapoor have all been questioned by the NCB. The agency has said this is part of its attempt to unravel a network of supply of drugs to celebrities.
The drugs angle in Sushant Rajput’s death was flagged after texts about the purchase of banned substances were allegedly found on the phone of his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, who is also an actor.
Ms Chakraborty, her brother Showik, two of Sushant Singh Rajput’s employees and a few others were arrested for allegedly arranging drugs for the 34-year-old actor. After spending nearly a month in jail, Ms Chakraborty was released on bail last month.
The allegations have split the film fraternity, with one section hitting out at the vilification of the industry. Many well-known actors and filmmakers have been trolled over the allegations.
“I’ll be a liar if I say that this problem does not exist in our industry. It exists, just like every industry. But every person in every profession is not involved in such problems. This is impossible,” actor Akshay Kumar said in October.