The Enforcement Directorate (ED) suspects that the bigwigs of Bengaluru accused in the drug menace, including Kannada film stars, are also involved in money laundering, said a police officer as the agency’s officials joined the Bengaluru police in the investigation.
“Yes, ED officials have approached us,” the officer told PTI. According to police sources, ED and CCB sleuths together carried out interrogation on Thursday (September 10) and grilled those who are in police custody.
The Central Crime Branch of Bengaluru had booked 14 people so far in connection with this case, including actors Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjanaa Galrani, former minister late Jeevaraj Alva’s son, Viren Khanna, Rahul and BK Ravishankar.
Police sources said most of these frequently flew to neighbouring countries and some of them had real estate businesses too.
“They seem to have a wide hawala network. There is suspicion that they would invest the black money of their clients in real estate outside India,” another officer said.
The drug menace in the Kannada film industry came to light for the first time when the NCB raided a house on the Bengaluru outskirts and arrested three persons, including a woman Anikha.
They revealed that they were allegedly supplying drugs to singers and actors in the Kannada film industry. Following the revelation, the Bengaluru police too started its investigation and booked cases against 14 people.
The ED officials suspect that some of the Bengaluru drug case accused had links with the Kerala gold smuggling case accused. So far, seven people have been arrested while others are at large, police sources said. Prashant Ranka was the seventh person to be arrested in the case.