‘Baahubali’ director Rajamouli, family test positive for covid-19

Agencies
July 30, 2020

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Chennai, Jul 30: Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli on Wednesday said he and his family members have tested positive for coronavirus and are currently quarantined at home.

The director, best known for his epic fantasy hit Baahubali series, said they got tested after they developed mild fever recently which subsided by itself.

“My family members and I developed a slight fever few days ago. It subsided by itself but we got tested nevertheless. The result has shown a mild COVID positive today. We have home quarantined as prescribed by the doctors (sic)” he said.

In a subsequent tweet, Rajamouli said he and his kin are asymptomatic and “feeling better”. They are, however, following all the precautions and instructions.

“Just waiting to develop antibodies so that we can donate our plasma,” he added.

Before the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown was announced in March, the filmmaker was working on his upcoming period action drama Rise Roar Revolt.

The Telugu film, featuring actors Ram Charan and NTR Jr in the lead, is a fictional tale based on the lives of two freedom fighters in early 20th century.

Andhra Pradesh witnessed its worst single day spike of coronavirus on Wednesday, 10,000 plus cases, as the other southern states, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka also reported high daily numbers, although they saw a dip in the infections.

The cumulative tally of southern states — AP, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry was 24,855 on Wednesday.

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Agencies
September 23,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 23: Actors Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor and Rakul Preet Singh have been summoned by the Narcotics Control Bureau in a stunning twist to the drugs probe linked to the Sushant Singh Rajput investigation. They have been asked to appear in the next three days.

Deepika Padukone has been summoned on Friday and the rest will be questioned tomorrow, according to officers.

These are the most high-profile names to come up in a widening probe into the link between drugs and the film industry, which emerged during the investigations into the death of Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14. 

Deepika Padukone's manager Karishma Prakash had been questioned yesterday in a case that the Narcotics Control Bureau had filed on the basis of WhatsApp messages retrieved from Rhea Chakraborty's mobile phone, which revealed conversations on procuring drugs.

According to news agency PTI, investigators have found WhatsApp messages on Karishma Prakash's phone, which reveal a conversation between one "D" and "K" on arranging drugs.

Rhea Chakraborty, a 28-year-old actor, was arrested in a separate case registered after 59 grams of marijuana was seized during searches in Mumbai. She has been accused by the anti-drugs agency of arranging drugs for Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput, her boyfriend. 

She and her brother Showik Chakraborty were sent to jail till October 6. Two employees of Sushant Singh Rajput and alleged drug dealers linked to the film fraternity are also among those arrested.

The names of Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor, both co-stars of Sushant Singh Rajput, reportedly came up during the questioning of Rhea Chakraborty.

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News Network
September 26,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 26: Three Bollywood actors Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan are being grilled at the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

The federal anti-narcotics organisation is investigating two cases - the drug angle in Sushant Singh Rajput case and the larger Bollywood-drug cartel nexus. Deepika's business manager Karishma Prakash was also questioned for the second day.

Deepika arrived at the NCB SIT office on Saturday morning. On Friday, her business manager Karishma Prakash was questioned by NCB's Special Investigation Team (NCB). Last night, Deepika had met her legal team.

Karishma Prakash's WhatsApp chats included conversations about drugs with one 'D' and the central agency wanted to find out who this person was, the NCB sources had said earlier.

Actors Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor are expected to reach NCB office in some time.

There is heavy police deployment outside the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office, where barricades have been put up. Media personnel have gathered in large numbers for coverage.

Deepika has been summoned by the NCB as part of its probe into the alleged Bollywood-drugs nexus.

There were reports that Deepika's husband and actor Ranveer Singh had asked the NCB if he could also remain present during her interrogation. However, the NCB had on Friday clarified that it did not receive any such request.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 23: Actress Rhea Chakraborty, arrested in a drugs case related to actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death, has said in her bail plea filed in the Bombay High Court that she is innocent and NCB is "deliberately" trying to invoke stringent charges against her and her family.

She also said that she has been subjected to a "witch-hunt".

In her bail application filed in the HC on Tuesday, Chakraborty said she is just 28 years of age, and besides the probe by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), she has been subjected to three more investigations by police and central agencies, and a "simultaneous media trial".

These probes refer to the ones conducted into Rajput's death by the Mumbai Police, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Chakraborty said all of this has taken a "severe toll on her mental health and well being".

Any further custody will worsen her mental health, she said in her plea filed through her counsel Satish Maneshinde.

Her bail plea was scheduled to be heard by a single bench presided over by Justice Sarang Kotwal on Wednesday.

However, since the High Court suspended the day's hearings owing to heavy rains in the city, the plea is likely to be heard on Thursday.

Chakraborty further said in her plea that Rajput had been in the habit of consuming drugs, particularly, "ganja" since even before she got into a relationship with him.

While she would sometimes procure drugs for him in "small quantities", and would also "occasionally pay for them herself," she was in no way a part of any drug syndicate.

She also said Rajput was the only one who was consuming the said drugs.

"The applicant (Chakraborty) is innocent and has not committed any crime whatsoever," the plea said.

She also said in her plea that she has been subjected to a "witch-hunt," and after the CBI and the ED failed to gather any evidence against her, the NCB was "brought in to somehow implicate her and her family".

Chakraborty has been booked by the NCB on several charges, including financing illicit trafficking of drugs under Section 27-A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act.

Section-27 A brings along a bar on the grant of bail to an accused.

The actor said she has been wrongly booked under the NDPS Act Section 27-A.

Besides, since no drugs were seized from her possession and since the NCB has managed to seize only 59 grams of drugs from all accused persons, the bar on grant of bail cannot be applied to her, she said in the plea.

The actress said a bar on grant of bail can come into play only if the drugs seized are in commercial quantities.

Last week, a similar argument was made by lawyers of Samuel Miranda and Dipesh Sawant, co-accused in the case, before a bench of Justice Kotwal.

Justice Kotwal had then pointed out that a plain reading of the NDPS Act showed Section 27-A could be imposed irrespective of the quantum of drugs recovered by the NCB.

He had, however, directed Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who represent the NCB in the high court, to clarify the same on September 29, the next date of hearing on the bail pleas of Miranda and others.

Chakraborty said some others accused in the case had faced identical allegations, but they had not been booked under the stringent Section 27-A.

She also said that at best, she can be accused of having procured drugs in small amounts for her boyfriend.

However, she was trying her best to wean Rajput off his habit of consuming drugs, the actress said.

Besides, if Rajput was alive today, he would have been charged merely for consumption of drugs and would have invited a maximum sentence of just one year, while she has been charged under sections imposing a maximum sentence of up to 20 years, Chakraborty said in the plea.

On a similar argument last week on the other pleas, Justice Kotwal pointed out that the NDPS Act adopts an "empathetic approach" towards the drug addict with view towards his rehabilitation.

However, it aims at ending all illicit trafficking of drugs and therefore, carries stringent punishment for those involved in procurement, financing and production of drugs.

Earlier this month,a special NDPS court in the city rejected the bail pleas of the actress and her brother Showik Chakraborty, saying if let out on bail, they might tamper with the evidence.

The actress is currently lodged in the Byculla women's prison in the city.

Rajput (34) was found hanging in his home in suburban Bandra on June 14.

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