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SC notice to govt on actor Ragini Dwivedi’s bail plea

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice on a plea moved by Kannada film actress Ragini Dwivedi seeking bail in the Sandalwood drugs case. The actress has highlighted that she has been in jail for 90 days without any authentic proof or recovery from her.

A bench headed by Justice R.F. Nariman and comprising Justices Navin Sinha and K.M. Joseph sought response from the Karnataka government on Ragini’s plea.

The plea filed through advocate-on-record Sahil Bhalaik said the prosecution has concocted a false case against her to attract public attention. The plea argued that it is remarkable that Ragini has been made an accused and remains in jail even after 90 days, despite that fact that there has been no recovery of any drugs from her.

The plea added that only on the basis of a false statement extracted by the police she has been implicated and became a victim of a media trial.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Ragini, submitted before the bench that no recovery was made from her and the entire case is based on a statement made by a co-accused before the police.

CCB sleuths to collect hair samples

The NDPS Special court on Friday granted permission to collect the hair samples of the accused persons in the Sandalwood drug scandal case registered at the Cottonpet police station.

The accused include actresses Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjanaa Galrani, party organiser Viren Khanna and others. Sandeep Patil, joint commissioner of police (Crime) confirmed the court’s permission to collect the hair samples of the accused persons.

The CCB officials had approached the court as the accused persons were not cooperating with the investigating officers to collect the samples. The CCB officials had taken the samples of Ragini and Sanjjanaa after their arrest and had sent them to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Hyderabad.

The FSL had returned the samples citing that the CCB officials had not followed the standard procedures of submitting the samples of evidence. After that, the officials made efforts to collect the samples once again, but the accused persons didn’t cooperate. The hair follicle drug test will play a major role as evidence because it proves the consumption of drugs by the accused person.

The Supreme Court has listed the matter for further hearing in the first week of January.

Dwivedi filed a special leave petition in the top court challenging the November 3 order of the Karnataka High Court, which declined to grant her relief along with another accused Sanjjanaa Galrani in the case.

The two actors were arrested by the Bengaluru Central Crime Branch Police in swift actions in September at the height drug related accusations among members of the film fraternity.

Ragini was arrested on September 4 and Sanjjanaa on September 8 under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly consuming and supplying banned drugs at parties and events organised in the city over the last couple of years.

All the accused are lodged in the central jail on the outskirts of the city’s southern suburb.

On September 28, the trial court had dismissed their bail applications on the grounds they could influence the other accused and hamper the investigation into the drugs scam.

The special NDPS court had also refused to grant bail to both the actors on the same day (September 28).

The city police began a crackdown on the use of banned drugs in the Sandalwood industry in August last week after noted Kannada film producer Inderjit Lankesh alleged that about a dozen actors were involved in drugs consumption and there was a nexus between them and drug mafias.

Besides Ragini and Sanjjanaa, 20 drugs peddlers, party organizers and their associates were arrested and jailed pending the investigation.

 

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