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Bollywood drugs nexus probe: Two NCB officials suspended

By IANS Updated: Dec 03, 2020 7:17 pm

Mumbai, Dec. 3 (IANS): In a big embarrassment, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has suspended two officials of its Mumbai Zonal Unit for their alleged suspicious role which enabled two persons in the ongoing Bollywood-drugs mafia investigation get relief, official sources said here on Thursday.

The role of the two investigating officials – whose identities were not disclosed – came under a cloud after accused Harsh Limbachiya and suspect Karishma Prakash got bail and interim bail, respectively, in November, an official requesting anonymity told IANS.

Limbachiya is the husband of high-profile television comedian Bharti Singh while Karishma Prakash is the manager of leading Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone.

Some other officials are likely to be under the NCB scanner for their questionable lapses in the matter that has shaken up the organisation which is probing the high-profile cases since the past nearly four months.

Both – Limbachiya and Karishma Prakash – had been raided by NCB teams last month and certain quantities of drugs recovered in the actions.

While Bharti Singh and Limbachiya were arrested and later got bail, Karishma Prakash had ignored the NCB summons to join the probe and later secured an interim bail – and in both the developments, the alleged role of the two IOs is now under the scanner.

The NCB move follows the preliminary report of an internal probe ordered by the Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, and the suspensions precede a full departmental enquiry in which the possible involvement of some others, including lawyers, could also come up, indicated the official.

In a serious transgression, the two officials, along with a lawyer, did not appear during scheduled court hearings in the two cases which enabled them get bail.

Following a tip-off from an arrested drug peddler, the NCB had raided Karishma Prakash when she was away from her home, and later a case was lodged along with summons issued to her.

While she ignored the summons, she also applied for an anticipatory bail which she got though the court directed her to appear before the NCB, which she complied with.

The NCB sought custodial interrogation for her as she was not cooperating in the probe and during the final hearing of her anticipatory bail plea, the official and lawyer did not appear in the court, after which the court granted her bail plea.

Bharti Singh and Limbachiya were arrested after raids at their homes and office on November 22 and sent to judicial custody for 13 days each.

They moved a bail plea in the court on November 23 which was granted ex-parte as the investigating officer and the NCB lawyer against remained absent, leaving the NCB teams aghast.

While the reasons in both these instances of absentia is not revealed, the NCB higher-ups smelt something amiss and ordered a preliminary probe after which the two IOs have been suspended.

By IANS Updated: Dec 03, 2020 7:17:08 pm