Bengaluru, Sep 4 (IANS) Alarmed by the alleged drug links in the Kannada film industry and huge consumption of narcotics in this tech city, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday ordered crack down on drug supplies in cities and towns across the southern state.
“I have directed the police to crack down on supply of narcotic drugs like ganja (marijuana) in cities and towns across the state to prevent their consumption, especially by the youth,” Bommai told reporters on a day when Kannada film actress Ragini Dwivedi was arrested in the city for her alleged drug links.
Asserting that the state government was firm on ending the drug menace in the state, Bommai said the Central Crime Branch (CCB) police was investigating the cases to find out the source of narcotics, who sells, buys and consumes.
“I have told the police to conduct raids on suppliers and consumers of banned drugs in all the 30 districts across the state, including border areas to prevent drug trafficking from other states,” said Bommai.
Bommai is holding a video-conference on Saturday with the superintendents of police and inspector-generals of police to assess the situation in their districts and regions and revise strategies to crack down on drug peddlers and addicts.
“We will continue our operation against drug peddlers and consumers till the menace is brought under control, as the recent arrests by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Bengaluru revealed the links of peddlers with the Kannada film actors and musicians,” reiterated Bommai.
Warning offenders of stringent action, the minister said none involved in the business of narcotic drugs, however influential, would be spared.
“Everyone involved in the drugs business, however influential or popular, will be punished to set an example to others indulging in the menace,” said Bommai.
On the alleged involvement of children of politicians in drugs business, Bommai said as the investigation was evidence-based, its scope would be widened if necessary to crackdown on everyone involved in the menace.
“More evidence will be collected as the investigation progresses. Anyone, be it from cinema or those from influential backgrounds, will be asked to appear for questioning and punished if they are involved in drugs,” Bommai added.
The city police began a crack down since Monday after noted Kannada film producer Inderjit Lankesh alleged that about a dozen Sandalwood actors were into drugs and there was a nexus between them and drug mafias.
Lankesh’s startling revelations about the rampant abuse of banned drugs in the multi-crore film industry came three days after the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) busted a drug trafficking racket in the city and arrested former Kannada television actress D. Anikha and two of her accomplices, R. Ravindran and M. Anoop, on August 26.
The central agency also seized huge cache of drugs from the accused, including 145 ecstasies or MDMA pills and Rs 2.2 lakh in cash from the Royal Suites Hotel Apartment in the city’s northeast suburb on August 21 and more pills in a follow-up raid last week.
The drug racket is suspected to supply recreational and party drugs to Sandalwood actors, children of VIPs, students and others.
“Noted musicians and actors in the Kannada film industry are under the scanner after their links to drugs came to light,” an NCB official had said earlier.
Lankesh also claimed that he had given material evidence on the alleged drug abuse among the Sandalwood actors.
Lankesh (43) is the son of noted editor late P. Lankesh, who had launched the popular “Lankesh patrika” (weekly tabloid) in Kannada in the 1980s.
“As I am associated with the film industry as a producer, director and writer, I came to know that some of the parties in the Sandalwood circle are hosted by drug mafias,” Lankesh said.