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Ragini Dwivedi, Viren Khanna charged for helping drug trade

The Central Crime Branch of the Bengaluru police have filed a First Information Report (FIR) against 12 accused including actor Ragini Dwivedi and high-profile party planner Viren Khanna in the drug bust case. The Central Crime Branch’s officers registered a suo motu FIR at the Cottonpet Police Station and have named Shivaprakash alias Chippi as the prime accused. Ragini Dwivedi and Viren Khanna are the second and third accused persons in the case. The other people named in the FIR include Prashant Ranka, Vaibhav Jain, Aditya Alva, Loum Pepper Ssamba, Prashant Raju, Ashwin alias Boogie, Abhiswamy, Rahul Tonse, Vinay and others.

The CCB on Saturday arrested Loum Pepper Samba, who was allegedly distributing drugs to the celebrities and their associates.

High-profile party organiser Viren Khanna held

City-based celebrity party planner Viren Khanna was on Friday, September 4, arrested in New Delhi in connection with a drug case. He has been taken into police custody for four days and will be brought to Bengaluru.

The charges brought against 35-year-old Khanna will be revealed in the remand application submitted in court.

Sandalwood actress Ragini Dwivedi was also arrested by police on Friday evening in the same case.

Khanna, who is known for organising exclusive events that cater to expat crowds in Bengaluru, was in Delhi for the past few days. A team of CCB officers travelled to Delhi to arrest him.

Joint Commissioner of Crime Sandeep Patil informed that his team is focusing on who is procuring the drugs, who is consuming them and who organises the parties where these drugs are consumed.

Patil added that there is a “big network of drugs peddling and consumption” and that “people like Viren Khanna” are organising high-profile parties and giving a platform for drug consumption. “Then there are celebrities and others like the film actress who go to the parties and consume drugs. Then there are the drug dealers like Ravi and Rahul who supply the drugs bought through other, mostly foreign drug peddlers,” he said, adding that all the accused involved in the three aforementioned focus areas will be arrested.

 Loum Pepper Samba

Ragini Dwivedi and the other accused have been booked under section 120b (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections 21 (possession, purchase or uses any manufactured drug or any preparation containing any manufactured drug shall be punishable), 21(c) (rigorous imprisonment not less than 10 years), 27a (punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders), 27b (consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance) and 29 (Whoever abets, or is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence is punishable) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

Ragini, an actor who has been a part of many Kannada movies is friends with Ravi Shankar, a man who according to the police was procuring and supplying drugs in parties. Viren Khanna is an event manager who organises high end parties in Bengaluru, especially for expats. He runs the Bangalore Expat Club that has thousands of members and organises parties.

However, Ragini Dwivedi’s friend Ravi Shankar and another arrested person Rahul Shetty have not been named in this FIR.

CCB sources said that the investigators are still questioning Rahul Shetty and that they are gathering more information and evidence based on his interrogation. However, Ravi Shankar has allegedly been booked in connection with another case in 2018. The CCB, at the time, had busted a drug distribution racket in the city, where Rs 1.5 crore worth of cocaine, MDMA and hashish were seized. Three Nigerian nationals and one resident of Bengaluru named Prateek Shetty were arrested in the case.

CCB sources say that Ravi Shankar allegedly procured drugs from Prateek Shetty. “He has been booked in another case. He will be questioned in connection with the recent drug case soon and he too will be produced before the magistrate,” a senior official with the CCB said.

Another bust

Meanwhile, the CCB’s Anti-Narcotics wing also arrested other drug peddlers, who were selling hash oil and weed oil. The police have arrested A Subramani, Vidush and Jashin in connection with the case. 2.1 kg of hash oil and 2 kg of weed oil were seized along with a weighing scale. Police said that Vidush, who was studying information technology from a college in Bedfordshire in the UK, was a resident of Bengaluru, allegedly procured the oil from Visakhapatnam.

Police said that the hash and weed oil was packed in empty Parachute Oil bottles and brought to the city. The two other accused allegedly packed and sold the contraband.

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