After retrieving data from the mobile phone of Rhea Chakraborty, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is planning a similar exercise with the phones of actors Deepika Padukone, her manager Karishma Prakash, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan. The NCB took their phones during their questioning on Saturday.
A senior official said, “We have seized the phones of the actors and will carry out due procedure as laid down by law.” An officer said that they would like to verify the statements given by the actors against their chat records. The chats – which would include retrieval of deleted chats – could also throw up some other names, an official said.
In forensic cloning of a mobile phone, there’s a bit-by-bit copy of the data of a particular phone, including deleted and overwritten data. Accompanied by a 65 (B) certificate under the IT act, the retrieved data can also be used in a court of law as evidence.
Deputy DG (south-west region) Mutha Ashok Jain said that for now they have not issued summons to anyone else. So far, there have been a total of 20 persons arrested in the case, including Kshitij Prasad, former executive producer with Dharma productions.
“Currently the investigations are focused on interrogation of Prasad and to see if he reveals some information about drug use in Bollywood,” an official said. The official said their investigation had revealed that while Prasad allegedly procured drugs from arrested drug peddlers in the case, he was not supplying it to anyone else.
While these arrests are focussed on FIR No. 16/20 which was registered suo motu by the NCB to investigate alleged drug use in Bollywood, no arrests have been made so far in connection with FIR No. 15/20, which was registered by the NCB based on chats of Rhea provided to them by the ED. In this case, being investigated by a special operations team from Delhi, statements of Deepika Padukone and her manager Karishma were recorded.
Deepika, who was questioned in connection with WhatsApp chats that purportedly included mention of marijuana, denied ever using narcotics, according to NCB sources.
Statements of Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor were recorded in connection with both the FIRs. During their statements, the actresses denied use of narcotics although they told the NCB that they had seen Rajput use drugs, according to the sources.