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Bharti, Harsh in judicial custody till Dec 4 in NDPS case (2nd Ld)

Bharti, Harsh in judicial custody till Dec 4 in NDPS case (2nd Ld)

Mumbai, Nov 22 (IANS) A Mumbai special court on Sunday sent in judicial custody till December 4 comedienne Bharti Singh and her husband Harsh Limbachiya, who were arrested in a drugs seizure and consumption case filed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

Shortly after the court order, the couple's lawyer Ayaz Khan filed bail applications that will be taken up for hearing on Monday.

While Bharti was arrested late on Saturday, Harsh was nabbed early Sunday morning by the NCB in the wake of raids at their home and office in Andheri West which led to alleged seizure of 86.50 gm of marijuana or 'ganja'.

The NCB has invoked Sections of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances pertaining to possession of small quantities of restricted drugs and their consumption.

The arrests that shocked the entertainment circles came after they were named by two peddlers arrested from Khar-Danda early on Saturday, according to the NCB. After the seizure, the couple also confessed to consuming drugs, following which they were interrogated and arrested.

"We have arrested Bharti Singh and found a little over 86 gm marijuana from her," NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede said on Saturday. The seized quantity attracts a jail term of six months and/or a fine.

Among other things, Harsh has allegedly told the NCB that he used to procure the drugs for self-consumption only.

The NCB had raided a location in Khar-Danda, a coastal area in Khar suburb, and nabbed a 21-year drug trafficker from whom commercial quantities of drugs like 15 blots of LSD, 40 gm ganja and a psychotropic drug were seized, said Wankhede.

Armed with this information, the NCB busted other locations, including the home and offices of the Bharti-Harsh couple in suburban Andheri West's fashionable Lokhandwala Complex and Versova, from where 86.50 gm of the banned marijuana was seized.

Both Bharti and Harsh are well-known television personalities producing or hosting programmes, besides appearing in reality shows like 'Khatron Ka Khiladi', 'Kapil Sharma Show', and other tele serials.

The latest action is part of the ongoing investigations into Bollywood-drugs mafia nexus which the NCB is trying to unravel since the past three months or so.

Since September, the NCB has arrested over two dozen persons, including Bollywood actress Rhea Chakbraborty (since bailed out), her brother Showik (who is still in jail), and other film industry-related persons, drug financiers, suppliers or peddlers, including some foreigners.

As the NCB claims to have unearthed a close link between the drugs mafia and the glamour industry, it has questioned several prominent film personalities amid speculation that several big names may be on its dreaded 'hit-list'.

Among those probed so far include actresses Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, model-cum-actor Arjun Rampal, and filmmaker Firoz Nadiadwala, whose wife Shabana was arrested but got bail after some quantities of 'commercial quantity' drugs were found at her residence. The latest celebrity to be arrested is Bharti Singh.

The NCB investigations are an offshoot of the probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who was found dead at his Bandra home on June 14, which sparked off a huge political controversy.

--IANS

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