Sandalwood drug scandal: NCB raids BBMP corporator, son’s residence

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The crackdown started after Kannada filmmaker Indrajit Lankesh appeared before the CCB and revealed information about the consumption of drugs by members of the new generation in the Kannada film industry.

The drug scandal rocking the Karnataka film industry has taken a political turn with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) bringing several local political leaders and their kin under its scanner.

The agency began the political hunt on Sunday, September 6, by raiding the resident of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Corporator Keshavamurthy and his son. The raid was led by NCB zonal and Mumbai officials, according to an ANI report.

Later, Yashas, Keshavamurthy's son, had been issued a notice by NCB to appear before September 7 in connection with drug peddlers. Earlier, Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi was arrested and taken into custody for her alleged involvement in a drug case.

The crackdown was launched after Kannada filmmaker Indrajit Lankesh appeared before the CCB and revealed information about the consumption of drugs in the Kannada film industry.

The Anti-Narcotics Wing of the CCB issued a notice to Lankesh regarding his statements on media channels over the consumption of drugs in the Kannada film industry and asked him to share information.

Lankesh had earlier claimed that some budding actors do consume banned substances. He had raised these points, during the course of many interviews given to the media, after the death of a young Kannada actor, Chiranjeevi Sarja.

The scandal took a political turn after celebrity manager Prashanth Sambaragi accused former minister BZ Zameer Ahamed Khan of having links with Rahul, who was arrested on Friday. Tourism Minister CT Ravi’s charge that a lot of political pressure was mounted to hush up the case against Ragini also led to political manoeuvring in the case.

While the Congress working president Saleem Ahamed and Opposition leader Siddaramaiah wanted the minister to spell out the names of the people exerting pressure, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai endorsed Ravi's allegations on pressure.

Though Sambaragi named Zameer, it is not a secret in Karnataka that many politicians and their children attend high profile Page-3 parties. Most of the politicians are in touch with the celebrities and those organising such parties, said a Deccan Chronicle report.

Many of the politicians, cutting across political party affiliations, also want to launch their children on the silver screen and do get in touch with party organisers.

The BJP has a lot of stakes in the entire case. In the first place, Karthik Raj, whose name figured just after the arrest of Ravi Shankar himself, is a BJP member. He had joined BJP during last by-elections and campaigned in the Shivajinagar constituency.

Even Ragini Dwivedi wanted to become the Brand Ambassador for the Karnataka government in fighting against depression. She had met Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa once and Health and Family Welfare Minister B Sriramulu twice in this regard. However, things could not move forward due to the lockdown and COVID-19 outburst. Ragini had also campaigned for a BJP candidate on personal basis during 2018 general elections.

Image Credit: CC Bank

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