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BJP 'disowns' 'Ragini IPS'; Kannada Sandalwood drug racket's links with Sushant Singh case emerging

After Mumbai's Sushant Singh Rajput episode, a Sandalwood drug racket is rattling Kannada filmdom and politics with the arrest of Namaste Madam's Ragini Dwivedi following whistleblower Indrajit Lankesh lifting the lid on the murky depths of the entertainment world here.

BENGALURU, Sept 7: The BJP has disowned any connections with 'Ragini IPS' in the sinister Sandalwood drug racket. The party's State unit issued a press release on Sunday saying that Ragini had 'voluntarily' campaigned for the BJP in the 2019 elections. However, the Kannada actress is neither a BJP member nor had the 'Namaste Madam' been assigned any electioneering activities, the party said.

Ragini Dwivedi, a Kannada actress and model, was arrested in connection with the Sandalwood drug racket last Friday and the court sent her to 3-day police custody. In the FIR registered at the Cottonpet police station here, she has been charged with storing and supplying drugs to actors and singers under the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act.

Earlier in the day the police had raided Ragini Dwivedi's residence in Yelahanka, detained her and later interrogated her for several hours at the CCB headquarters. Three others - Rahul, Viren Khanna and K Ravishankar - have also been arrested in the case. More people are said to be involved in the Sandalwood drug scandal. According to the police, a foreign national used to supply the drugs.

The Central Crime Branch of Bengaluru has been investigating an allegation by a film producer Indrajit Lankesh, brother of the assassinated journalist Gauri Lankesh, about drug abuse in the film industry.

Investigation has been going on for a month and several drug peddlers were arrested last month.

Earlier, upon receiving notice, 'Ragini IPS' had tweeted: "I consider it my duty as a citizen to humbly participate in any questioning that the police might have I have nothing to hide and have no connection with any unlawful activity which is being probed by the CCB police. Once again I express my gratitude to...I am grateful for all the concern expressed by the public about a notice I received ... As I received it at a very short notice, I was unable to appear today before the CCB police. However, out of respect for the process of the law.."

Meanwhile, former Karnataka Minister the late Jeevaraj Alva's son and Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi's brother-in-law Aditya Alva's name has cropped up among the accused in the Sandalwood drug scandal, according to media reports.

With the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) issuing notice to a son of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Yashas, on Monday, a common peddler link between Sandalwood drug racket and Mumbai's drug underworld involved with Sushant Singh Rajput episode is emerging.

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