Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi at the Central Crime Branch office for question in connection with the sandalwood drug scandal, in Bengaluru, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Bengaluru drug case: Karnataka Home Minister hints at more arrests, says coming week crucial


Bengaluru: Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said the coming week is going to be crucial in the government's crackdown against drug peddling and substance abuse, as it will take certain key decisions by strengthening agencies and laws to fight the menace.

He said the intelligence department will also be involved in a big way, while the Central Crime Branch (CCB) will be further strengthened.

"We have decided to further strengthen the crackdown against drugs and narcotic substances. The coming week is crucial, as we have decided to give instructions to police in border districts for stricter measures against drugs coming into the state from inter-state borders," Bommai said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said it has been decided to involve the intelligence department in a big way in this fight against drugs.

Also there is need to further strengthen the CCB that is investigating the case in Bengaluru, Bommai said, as the CCB is under the burden of several cases, its purview and base need to further strengthened by posting more officials and providing more facilities.

"We will be taking certain decisions in this regard in the coming days."

Further noting that state has the powers to frame rules for the implementation of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), which is a central act, he said to resolve implementational issues and regarding changing rules, we will be discussing with legal experts and take decision to further strengthen.

CCB police investigation into the drugs case has led to several arrests so far including actresses Ragini Dwivedi, Sanjjanaa Galrani, and high-end party planner Viren Khanna among others.

Stressing the need for concerted effort and an aware society to fight the drugs, Bommai said we are open for all suggestions and advice in this regard.

"I have told police officials, especially CCB, that any information from anywhere, whether it is media or any statement, should be taken seriously and investigated for necessary further action," he added.

Siddaramaiah seeks impartial probe

Leader of Opposition in Karnataka assembly Siddaramaiah on Sunday sought merciless action against those involved in drug peddling and substance abuse in the state, and said the investigation into the case has to be "impartial" and without any political motive.

"Any investigation has to be impartial, it should not be done without any political motive. Drug is a menace to the whole society, this has been around for several years now and it has to be stopped," Siddaramaiah said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said merciless action should be taken against whoever is involved in it, but it should not be out of political malice.

To a query on Congress MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan's name allegedly being linked to the case, Siddaramaiah said just because someone is seen with a person involved in a case, he cannot be labelled a criminal.

"What is the evidence for Zameer's involvement in the drug racket? It should not be done unnecessarily out of political motive.

Someone's name should not be dragged in unnecessarily to defame them," he said.

The former chief minister said he had even questioned Zameer, after his name was linked to the case, and the latter has clarified that he has no connection and has nothing to do with it.

Zameer Ahmed Khan, ruling out his involvement or any connection with the case had on Friday said he was being targeted for being a Muslim and would file a defamation suit against entrepreneur Prashanth Sambaragi, who has accused him of having links with those allegedly involved in the case.

Responding to a question on his recent charge that the government was using the drugs case to 'cover up' its failures, Siddaramaiah said, "it is getting more publicity, I'm not saying that publicity should not be given, but keeping everything aside, this is getting importance."