K’taka HC rejects actors’ bail plea in Sandalwood drugs case

Bengaluru, Nov 3 (IANS) The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail applications of Kannada film actors Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjana Galrani and 3 others in the Sandalwood drugs case that rocked the southern state recently.

“Justice Sreeniwas Harish Kumar dismissed the bail petitions of Ragini, Sanjana and co-accused Prashant Ranka who are under judicial custody since mid-September for their alleged involvement in use of banned drugs,” a city crime branch police official told reporters here, quoting the prosecutor,

Ragini was arrested on September 4 and Sanjana on September 8 under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly consuming and supplying banned drugs at parties and events organised in the city over the last couple of years.

All the accused are lodged in the central jail on the outskirts of the city’s southern suburb.

“The trial court on September 28 dismissed their bail applications on the grounds they could influence the other accused and hamper investigation into the drugs scam,” said the official.

The special NDPS court had also refused to grant bail to both the actors on the same day (September 28).

The special public prosecutor contended that as the investigation is pending, the accused should remain in judicial custody.

The city police began a crackdown on the use of banned drugs in the Sandalwood industry in August last week after noted Kannada film producer Inderjit Lankesh alleged that about a dozen actors were into drugs and there was a nexus between them and drug mafias.

Besides Ragini and Sanjana, 20 drug peddlers, party organisers and their associates were arrested and jailed pending the investigation.

Lankesh’s startling revelations about the rampant abuse of banned drugs in the multi-crore film industry came after the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) busted a drug trafficking racket in the city and arrested former Kannada television actress D. Anikha and two of her accomplices, R. Ravindran and M. Anoop, on August 26.

The central agency also seized huge cache of drugs from the accused, including 145 ecstasies or MDMA pills and Rs 2.2 lakh in cash from the Royal Suites Hotel Apartment in the city’s northeast suburb on August 21 and more pills in a follow-up raid last week.

The drug racket is suspected to supply recreational and party drugs to Sandalwood actors, children of VIPs, students and others.



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