In what’s perceived as a breakthrough in the drug probe linked to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, Kshitij Ravi Prasad, employed with producer Karan Johar’s company Dharma Productions, was arrested on September 25 following his interrogation with Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) in Mumbai. His arrest was triggered by a raid at his Versova residence where drugs were seized.
Around the same time as Prasad’s arrest, popular stars including Deepika Padukone, Rakul Preet Singh, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor were summoned by the NCB and asked questions related to their WhatsApp chats that seem to indicate that they consumed drugs.
According to reports, NCB official Sameer Wankhede confirmed Prasad’s arrest on Saturday and many Indian dailies quoted sources claiming that Prasad had revealed the names of five Bollywood actors and two producers in connection with drug use. Singh also named Prasad as one of the faces who was known to supply drugs to her close associates in Bollywood.
Meanwhile, Johar has distanced himself from Prasad and put out a statement claiming that reports about him being his close aide is false and baseless. He claims that he is not responsible for what his employees do in their “personal lives”. Johar, who was accused of hosting a “drug-fuelled party” attended by top Bollywood stars including Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor, denied that there was substance abuse in his 2018 soiree. His star-studded, exclusive parties, which are considered decadent and filled with debauchery, have come back into focus following Rajput’s death and the role that drugs might have played in it.
Rajput’s death has triggered a clarion call to clean up substance abusers in Bollywood. Padukone — who openly supported anti-establishment students protesting at Jawaharlal Nehru University — is one of the key figures to have been summoned from Bollywood. These developments are being called a smokescreen to deviate India’s attention from its declining economy and issues faced by farmers.