Three popular Bollywood actresses were interrogated in a drug investigation on Saturday, sending shock waves through the Indian film industry already plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) have been investigating allegations of drug use in Bollywood for the past one month in connection with the death of popular actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who was found dead in his home in June.
The aim of the investigation is to find out if there is any link between the film industry and the drug business, a law enforcement official stated.
Actresses Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan were all seen on television during an interrogation at the NCB office in Mumbai.
This week, NCB questioned several other prominent figures associated with the industry in Mumbai, including producers, talent managers and fashion designers.
India’s film industry, which has a turnover of 191 billion rupees (US$2.59 billion), mostly concentrated in Mumbai-Bollywood, is having a tough year as theatres remain closed due to the pandemic.
Mumbai police initially reported Rajput’s death as an accident and local media called it a suicide, but now the federal police are investigating whether it was foul play.
On September 8, the NCB arrested Rajput’s girlfriend, actress Leah Chakraborty, and charged her with “operating in a drug syndicate linked to drug supply” under a bail order.
Chakraborty, who remains in a Mumbai jail, has denied committing the crime. Her lawyer, Satish Manesinde, called the arrest a “parody of justice”.