Terming the voluminous 12,000-page charge sheet filed against Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty, her brother Showik and 31 others as “expected”, their lawyer Satish Maneshinde launched a sharp attack on the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), virtually accusing it of a witch-hunt, here on Saturday.
“All efforts of the NCB have been directed towards Rhea Chakraborty, to somehow rope her in. The entire NCB, from top to bottom was engaged in unearthing the drug angle in Bollywood,” Maneshinde said.
“The charge sheet is a damp squib standing on the foundation of inadmissible evidence and statements recorded under NDPS Act Sec. 67 even after the Supreme Court judgement in the Toofan Singh case. Without Rhea Chakraborty being charged, this case has no substance,” Maneshinde said.
Referring to the NCB’ contentions in the charge sheet that it has seized various narcotic drugs (Charas, Ganja, LSD, Ecstasy) and psychotropic substances (Alprazolam and Clonazepam), the lawyer rubbished the federal drug agency’s claims.
“The entire amount of ‘Narcotic Substances’ recovered against the 33 accused are nothing compared to what even a Constable in Mumbai Police or Narcotics Cell or the Airport Customs or other agencies recover from one raid or trap,” Maneshinde pointed out.
Moreover, he said there’s hardly any material against any known faces, who were paraded during the investigations, and wondered whether the allegations were false, or “only God knows the Truth”.
The lawyer added that even the Bombay High Court did not find prima facie material at the stage of bail of the ‘alleged’ financing of drugs trade, as claimed by the NCB.
Maneshinde’s strong reactions came a day after the NCB lodged its charge sheet — a 11,700-page plus more in electronic format — with the Special NDPS Court in Mumbai, signalling an end to the probe.
The NCB came into the picture in August 2020 after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) stumbled on the drugs aspect of its probe into the financial angles surrounding the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14 at his rented duplex in Bandra, Mumbai.
Besides Rhea and Showik, the NCB has named the late actor’s ex-manager Samuel Miranda, his domestic help Dipesh Sawant, a drug peddler Anuj Keshwani from whom commercial quantity of drugs like LSD sheets and Marijuana) were first recovered.
Also figuring in the charge sheet are two foreigners — actor Arjun Rampal’s South African girlfriend and model Gabriella Demetriades, her brother Agisilaos Demetriades, besides Kshitij Prasad, a former executive producer with Dharma Productions, and two collegians, said to be the last-mile peddlers.
“We will have the last laugh Satyameva Jayate,” an unfazed Maneshinde concluded.
Actress Katrina Kaif tests negative for Covid
Actress Katrina Kaif has tested negative for Covid-19. The Bollywood star took to Instagram to share the news with fans on Saturday.
Katrina shared a picture on Instagram dressed in yellow, and thanked everyone who had checked on her health while she was down with Covid.
“Negative (everyone who checked up on me thank u, it was really sweet felt a lot of)” she wrote, completing a sentence with a yellow heart sign. Traditionally, a yellow flag is used to denote quarantine.
The actress tested Covid positive at the beginning of the month. She had shared the health update on Instagram and asked everyone who had been in touch with her to get themselves tested.
Meanwhile, the release date for Katrina’s “Sooryavanshi” has been postponed again. She will share the screen with Akshay Kumar in the film. The actress also has “Bhoot Police” lined up, which also stars Siddhanth Chaturvedi and Ishaan Khatter. She will also be seen with Salman Khan in “Tiger 3”.
Actor Sonu Sood tests Covid positive
Actor Sonu Sood has tested Covid positive. He took to social media to share the news with fans on Saturday, asking them not to worry.
He posted a picture that read: “Hi Everyone, this is to inform you that I have tested positive this morning for COVID-19. As a part of precautions, I have already quarantined myself & taking utmost care. But don’t worry this gives me ample time to solve your problems. Remember I’m always there for you all. — Sonu Sood.”
He captioned the post as: “Stay safe Stay positive.”
The actor was recently appointed brand ambassador of Punjab’s Covid vaccination programme by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Sonu has been actively helping people cope with the Covid crises. Last year, he helped thousands of migrants reach houses during lockdown and also provided e-rickshaws to the unemployed.
Aditi Rao Hydari: I am dying to go back to theatres
Aditi Rao Hydari says while OTT is doing a great job at entertaining the audience, she does miss the big screen.
The actor says there is a sense of “magic” in theatres, which has always been there and will never go away.
“I miss it because there’s the magic associated with the theatre, there’s a whole childhood nostalgia, and it’s a very immersive experience. You go there and you become a part of the world there,” Aditi told IANS.
However, she said that since last year, OTT platforms have really gained prominence.
“In lockdown, OTT platforms have been our best friends. With OTT, there has been amazing writing, content, and the way the audience has consumed the content, that’s been really incredible,” she said, adding that the platform has given a lot of work to people in the industry.
“As an actor, there is so much more to do on it, in fact, for directors, writers, and everyone in the industry it has opened a whole new world,” she said, adding there will come a time when both platforms will be at the same level.
“Of course, I am dying to go back to theatres, but I feel there will be a time when there will be a value of the theatres and there will be the same value for OTT because each platform is powerful in its own way,” she says.
The actress adds that the kind of content that plays on both platforms is diverse.
“For writers, directors, actors, it has opened up a new world in terms of stories that one can only make for OTT which is different from (what) one makes for the theatres. Quite often, the theatrical films are larger-than-life and mounted differently. A producer might tell it better, how it is structured. OTT is different because the pressure is different,” she says.
“As an artist, I have the same passion and the same love. It’s just the medium and the way it is done for each platform, that is a whole producer and the finance thing, that’s different. So, it doesn’t make a difference in how I work. I do believe, the variety can be more and it is, the kind of topic people are making films and shows on, might not be conducive to the theatre or the way stories they tell like in 6 to 7 seasons, in theatre you just have 2 hours. That’s different,” she says.
Aditi is currently seen on the OTT-released film “Ajeeb Daastaans”, and will soon be seen in the Tamil film “Hey Sinamika”, “Maha Samudram”.
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