Narcotics Control Bureau director general Rakesh Asthana returned to the national capital Delhi on 23 October after a quiet visit to Mumbai to review investigations by the federal agency in the drugs trafficking case launched after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death in June this year, people familiar with the matter said.
Asthana’s overnight visit to Mumbai comes ahead of a crackdown being planned by the NCB that is expected to target celebrities in Bollywood and the drug suppliers. “You can expect some action in the next two weeks,” a senior NCB official said, declining to reveal details at this stage.
The NCB has already arrested more than 20 people in this case including actor Rhea Chakraborty who was released on bail earlier this month after spending nearly a month behind bars. Her brother is still in jail after the Mumbai high court, which set her free, ruled that Showik appeared to be “an important link in the chain of drug dealers”.
Well before Rhea Chakraborty walked out of prison, the NCB had already expanded the ambit of its probe to cover other celebrities as well. Actors Deepika Padikone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh, fashion designer Simone Khambatta and celebrity manager Shruti Modiwere questioned last month.
“There has been forward movement in the investigation, both on the demand side from Bollywood as well as the supply side,” an official familiar with the probe said. There are people who have a day job in the film industry but are involved in the drugs racket, the official said.
On the supply side, the NCB has already busted a module in Kerala’s Kasaragod that was linked to the Bollywood case and is tracking down the main narcotics suppliers to Mumbai.
Asthana, who spent most of his time hopping from one meeting to another, was told that investigators had been able to establish the heroin and amphetamine were making their way to Mumbai either through Afghanistan-Pakistan channel or via Mozambique-Maldives-Sri Lanka route. cocaine comes from South America, either via South Africa and other African countries.
The NCB has already reached out to their counterparts in the United States, Britain, Canada and South Africa – to take action against the traffickers in related cases.