Bollywood drugs scandal: Celebrity hairstylist held

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Entertainment desk, Dec 10: India’s narcotics control authority is going all out against the Bollywood drugs mafia.

On Thursday, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) claimed to have arrested a leading Bollywood hairstylist, along with an autorickshaw driver, in Mumbai for possession of banned substances, a day it nabbed a missing peddler and seized huge quantities of drugs.

In a statement, NCB said the agency had rounded up the two persons from the city’s Oshiwara locality. “Initial investigation revealed that one of the arrested persons, Suraj Godambe, is a hair stylist by profession,” the statement said.

A senior police official told UNB that the autorickshaw driver has links with Nigerian drug syndicate. “He has confessed to his links during interrogation,” he said.

After Wednesday’s arrest of Regel Mahakal and seizure of recreational drug Ecstasy worth Indian rupees 2.5 crore, NCB sleuths claimed that they had achieved a major breakthrough in the drugs probe linked to the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

“However, at this time, we cannot disclose his links with (Sushant Singh’s actor-girlfriend) Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik,” NCB official Sameer Wankhede had said.

Officials had said that Regel used to supply drugs to several Bollywood celebrities through small-time drug dealers active in Mumbai. “He went missing since NCB started the drugs probe following the death of Sushant Singh and arrest of Anuj Keshwani, who used to supply banned substances to the late actor, Rhea and her brother,” another official had said.

While Rhea was released by the High Court in Mumbai in October, her brother Showik was granted bail by a special court in Mumbai earlier this month. The siblings were arrested in September in connection with the drugs scandal that gripped the country’s film industry following Sushant Singh’s suicide in June this year.

Rhea was, in fact, arrested by NCB on September 9, following days of questioning, and accused of procuring cannabis for her late actor-boyfriend, whose body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his Mumbai flat on June 14.

Immediately after the arrest of Rhea, the names of at least 20 top Bollywood celebrities — from actors to filmmakers to designers — surfaced in the drugs case. Several of them, including leading female Bollywood actors —  Rakul Preet Singh,  Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor — were subsequently grilled by NCB.

The grilling came in the wake of WhatsApp chats retrieved from Rhea’s mobile phone indicating that they procured banned substances like cannabis, weed and hash from dealers with links to foreign countries. All the actors, however, reportedly denied any links with such drug dealers.