In the absence of any direct drug seizures in the case against Rhea Chakraborty, the NCB is investigating “networks” of drug peddlers in Mumbai dealing in marijuana ‘bud’.
Citing WhatsApp chats on the actor’s phone, NCB officials said there was a “clear element of usage and supply” of the narcotic. Rhea has denied she has ever used narcotic drugs. In cases under the NDPS Act, chat conversations on narcotic drugs have to be corroborated with material evidence at the time of filing of chargesheet.
FIRs have been registered against Rhea by the CBI, ED and NCB in connection with the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The NCB has begun looking at the “manual intelligence networks” of drug peddlers in the city, a senior official said. The NCB has charged Rhea under sections of the NDPS Act that relate to conspiracy, possession and supply of drugs among others. “For charges like conspiracy, a seizure is not necessary,” the official said.
The NCB team had picked up two persons in their early twenties and found 56 grams of marijuana on them, following which they were charged and arrested on Saturday. “They were produced before court and granted bail as it is a bailable offence. We did not find any link to Rhea from them,” an official said. However, the two could not be released as the teller was closed by the time the bail amount could be posted.
“While the quantity found on them was less, it was ‘bud’ which would carry a high value in terms of money. Currently, market price for ‘bud’ is around Rs 5,000 per gram in Mumbai,” the official said. “The problem we are facing is, ever since this case hit the limelight a lot of peddlers in the city have dumped their contraband for fear of being caught. Under those circumstances it would be a challenge to track the network in the city involved in this.”
Asked if the absence of any seizure would not pose a problem for the prosecution, the official said a seizure is needed mainly to determine if it is commercial quantity. “We have charged Rhea under conspiracy as well which does not require a seizure,” the official said.