Curse Of Drugs

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The central and state anti-drug agencies must break the chain

Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty has been arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in a drug case linked to her boyfriend and actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. The arrest followed three days of her intense questioning by the officials of the NCB. Rhea is the 10th person to be arrested in the case. The NCB is one of the three agencies that have been probing the death of Sushant who was found hanging at his Mumbai residence on June 14. She has been remanded to judicial custody till September 22 by the court after she was produced before it through video conferencing. The NCB alleged that she was an “active member” of a drug syndicate and  procured drugs for the deceased Rajput. It has also been said that she was a key person in handling procurement of drugs for Sushant. She has been booked under various provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Even as the NCB started the probe into alleged drug nexus in the Sushant case, the involvement of some people from Goa and their links in the drug chain has recently surfaced. Some people allegedly linked to the drug trade were even called for a probe. However, it has to be noted that the focus of investigation in the case was Rhea and her brother who too has been arrested. Though neither has any direct evidence to link the Chakraborty family surfaced nor has any drug been found in their possession, the siblings have been arrested on having accepted their “guilt” in procuring drugs during their interrogation. It has also been claimed by the probing agency that the others who have been arrested have pointed fingers at the Chakraborty siblings in procurement of drugs. The NCB should take the case to its logical end by collecting enough evidence against all to ensure conviction of those involved in drug trafficking.

It is well known that drug trafficking and consumption is widespread in the country. Two Kannada actors have recently been booked for various offences under NDPS Act. Goa too has seen big seizures of drugs over the last few years. The Kapil Jhaveri rave party case at Vagator is the latest one in Goa in which 23 people were arrested and drugs worth Rs 9 lakh were seized. Though the state government and police bosses have been claiming that they had zero tolerance to drugs, drug cases keep on surfacing, which suggests that while a few cases come out in the open, many others go on undetected. There have been some big seizures. Despite the fact that the drug trade was continuing, it remains a harsh reality that the NCB, whose officials are posted in Goa, and the state police have not been able to wipe it out. The NCB had recently unearthed a big racket and seized drugs worth lakhs of rupees in Mumbai and Delhi that were to be shipped to Goa from where they were to be transferred to Bengaluru.

It has for long been alleged that the drug trade has been thriving in Goa with the active patronage of politicians and policemen. The fears expressed by people about political patronage to drug traffickers apparently is seen as coming true with not much headway being made by the police in the Vagator rave party case. Some others arrested in drug cases have been allowed to be released on bail after the police failed to complete the probe into the cases. There have also been allegations of poor investigation in some drug cases leading to the acquittal of those involved. There have been claims that the organizer of the Vagator rave party had strong political links. Since the name of Goa has figured again in the drug trade and that too at the national level, the state and central authorities should direct the NCB to take on the probe and ensure that it goes to the bottom to unearth the nexus and break the chain in the drug trade. It is time for the state and central agencies to show the same zeal against drug trade as has been seen in the Sushant case to free the Goan tourism and Goan society from the curse of drugs.