By Quaid Najmi
In a major development, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested popular comedian Bharti Singh for alleged possession and consumption of banned drugs, after her home and office were raided this morning, a top official said here late on Saturday.
“We have arrested Bharti Singh and found a little over 86 gms of marijuana from her. Her husband Harsh Limbachiya is currently being interrogated by NCB. We shall update on further developments later,” NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede told IANS.
Around 86.50 gms of banned drug (marijuana), which is said to be of commercial quantity, was recovered from their home and office during the raids and the duo has reportedly confessed to consuming drugs.
The NCB zeroed in on the comedian-couple after a couple of drug peddlers were arrested in an ongoing action early this morning who revealed the names of Bharti and Harsh.
The NCB raided a location in Khar-Danda, a coastal area in Khar suburb, and nabbed a 21-year drug trafficker from whom commercial quantities of drugs like 15 blots of LSD, 40 gms Ganja and a psychotropic drug, Nitrazepam were seized, said Wankhede.
Armed with this information, the NCB busted other locations, including the home and offices of the Bharti-Harsh couple in suburban Andheri west’s fashionable Lokhandwala Complex and Versova, from where 86.50 gms of the banned Marijuana was seized.
Thereafter, both actors were detained for a short while and formally summoned for further investigations to the NCB office where they reached there in separate vehicles.
On reaching the NCB offices, an apparently unruffled Bharti Singh briefly told mediapersons that they had been “called for some questioning”.
However, after a sustained interrogation round of nearly five hours, late this evening, Bharti was placed under arrest, while hubby Harsh was still being grilled by the sleuths.
Bharti shall be produced before a designated court on Sunday, though it is not clear whether it will be a physical appearance or via videoconference.
Both Bharti and Harsh are well-known comedians, television personalities producing or hosting programmes, besides appearing in reality shows like ‘Khatron Ka Khiladi’, ‘Kapil Sharma Show’, and other tele-serials.
The latest action is part of the ongoing investigations into Bollywood-drugs mafia nexus which the NCB is trying to unravel since the past three months or so.
From September till date, the NCB has arrested over two dozen persons including Bollywood actress Rhea Chakbraborty, now on bail, her brother Showik, still in jail, and other film industry related persons, drug financers, suppliers or peddlers, including some foreigners.
As the NCB claims to have unearthed a close link between drugs mafia and the glamour industry, it has questioned several prominent film personalities, amid speculation that several big names may be on its dreaded ‘hit-list’.
Among those probed so far include actresses Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, model-cum-actor Arjun Rampal, and filmmaker Firoz Nadiadwala, whose wife Shabana was arrested and got bail after some quantities of ‘commercial quantity’ drugs were found at her residence, and the latest is Bharti Singh.
The NCB investigations are an off-shoot of the probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who was found dead at his Bandra home on June 14 which sparked off a huge political controversy.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])