A Bengaluru court, on Friday, extended the police custody of Kannada film stars Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjana Galrani by another three days in the high-profile drugs bust case. Along with Ragini and Sanjana, police custody was extended for four of their associates and co-accused till September 14. The four others include Ravi Shankar, Rahul Shetty, Niyaz and Loum Pepper Samba.
This after the Central Crime Bureau (CCB) of the Bengaluru Police, earlier on Friday, said they have arrested an alleged habitual drug peddler, Prateek Shetty, in connection with the high profile case. Shetty is allegedly involved in procuring and selling banned drugs during high-end parties in the city allegedly involving Sandalwood celebrities. Pratheek has been named as accused number 15 in the FIR registered at the Cottonpet Police Station.
As earlier reported by TNM, the CCB arrested Pratheek Shetty based on the confession procured from Ragini Dwivedi’s friend Ravi Shankar. The CCB says it found chats between Ravi Shankar and Pratheek Shetty where the duo allegedly exchanged pictures of contraband. CCB sources have accused Ravi Shankar of procuring drugs from Pratheek for a few years now, which he, allegedly, then supplied to parties attended by Sandalwood celebrities.
Pratheek Shetty was also one of the three accused persons arrested by the Banaswadi Police in 2018 and 1,290 gm of cocaine and 1,930 gm of MDMA pills were seized. Three men including Faith Chucks, a South African national, Kante Hery from Guinea and Pratheek Shetty, a resident of New Thippasandra, was arrested then. At the time, Pratheek Shetty was allegedly selling drugs to Ravi Shankar but had not disclosed the information to the police. Pratheek Shetty allegedly came to Bengaluru in 2010 when he got a job as a software engineer. He lived in Karachanahalli and allegedly began consuming synthetic drugs. Police say that he turned to peddle drugs in the subsequent years after he came into contact with student dealers, who were from African countries. “He developed contacts of peddlers in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, where he used to source drugs from. He has been doing this since 2010,” a CCB officer said.
The Narcotics Control Bureau arrested several peddlers in the last week of August. Based on a lead, the Central Crime Branch conducted raids at Sanjjanaa Galrani and Ragini Dwivedi’s houses in Bengaluru in September. The Bengaluru police have now nabbed more than seven members including peddlers and actors who consumed drugs. The peddlers were connected to top businessmen, actors and musicians from the Kannada film industry.