Bengaluru

ED to question actors and other accused

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is the latest agency to turn its gaze on the actors and party organisers who have been arrested by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) in connection with an alleged drug racket. But this time, it’s the financial activities of the accused that are under the scanner.

The ED on Thursday obtained permission to question actors Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjanaa Galrani as well as three others for alleged money laundering.

During the bail application hearing in the NDPS Court, Special Public Prosecutor P. Prasanna Kumar filed an application seeking permission for the ED to question the accused about their financial activities. Admitting the plea, the court granted the agency permission to question party organiser Viren Khanna, another accused Rahul Thonse, second division clerk in the RTO Ravishankar as well as Ragini and Sanjjanaa for five days at Central Prison, Parappana Agrahara where they are lodged.

Mr. Prasanna Kumar submitted that the CCB, during the course of its investigation, found that the accused financed drug trafficking and earned money from the activity. The ED, through its counsel, stated that in order to unearth and trace the financial trail, it was essential to know details of the property purchased by the accused and investments made.

The counsel cited the recent suspension of Assistant Commissioner of Police M.R. Mudhavi for allegedly helping the accused in return for a payment of ₹50 lakh. He allegedly received ₹12 lakh as an advance from the accused.

“With this, it can be estimated that the accused have huge amount of unaccounted money, which needs to be probed,” Mr. Prasanna Kumar said.

Resort owner summoned

CCB officials, as part of the investigation, summoned Bengaluru-based resort owner Karthik Raju for questioning. According to the police, the accused had organised a party at his resort where drugs were sold and consumed.

“We are probing in detail to ascertain his possible involvement in the racket,” a senior police officer said.

CCB special teams are still searching for three of the prime accused, including Aditya Alva, the son of the late Jeevaraj Alva who served as minister, and party organiser Sheikh Fazil.

Accused tests positive

One of the accused arrested by the CCB has tested positive for COVID-19. According to the police, he is one of the party organisers who is close to several celebrities.

“CCB officials had taken him into police custody for further questioning but on Thursday, his results came positive. He has been shifted to a private hospital for treatment,” said a senior police official.

Meanwhile, the Special NDPS court has postponed the bail plea of actors Sanjjanaa and Ragini to Friday while the plea of the other accused, Prateek and Ravishankar, will come up for hearing on September 28 and 29.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 5:41:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/ed-to-question-actors-and-other-accused/article32688633.ece

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