Celebrity couple Diganth and Aindrita interrogated in Sandalwood drugs case

The police probe into drug use among celebrities in the Kannada film industry (Sandalwood) has widened with officers of the Central Crime Bureau (CCB) of the Bengaluru City Police interrogating star couple Aindrita Ray and Diganth Manchale (right) on Wednesday.

The pair have delivered multiple hits and are well known in the city's party circuit.

Earlier, actresses Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjna Galrani were arrested.

The CCB has conducted a series of raids and nabbed 11 people over the last two weeks.

Joint Commissioner of Bengaluru Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said that the preliminary interrogations of Ray and Diganth have concluded but the police have instructed them to be present whenever they are required for further investigations.

The couple later stated that they were ready to cooperate whenever the police summon them.

"We cooperated in today's investigations, we will do it in future as well, whenever they call us, we will present ourselves in front of them," they said in a statement.

According to a senior police officer, neither Aindrita nor Diganth showed any sign of resistance during the interrogation.

"They cooperated fully. When we asked them to hand over their mobile phones, without resisting they handed them over," he said. "We will have to probe into these mobile phones based on inputs we may gather. We might summon them for a second round of investigations."

Aindrita made her acting debut in 2007 and starred in films such as Meravanige. She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of the mentally challenged girl Devika in the Kannada film Manasaare.

Diganth is best known for his performance in Doodhpeda - a 2008 Kannada movie that became a super hit. His performances in films such as Pancharangi (2010), Lifeu Ishtene (2011) and Parijatha (2012) earned him fame and pushed him to the top league of Kannada actors.

The couple tied the knot in 2018.

On Tuesday, CCB personnel raided the house of Aditya Alva, the son of former Karantaka minister Jeevaraj Alva and brother-in-law of Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, and seized documents, computers and other electronic gadgets.

Aditya, who is reportedly absconding, is the fifth accused in the drugs case. His mother Nandini is a renowned dancer and event organiser.

On Monday, a court in Bengaluru sent Ragini and four others accused in the case to 14-day judicial custody and extended the police remand of Sanjjana Galrani by three days.

The police said that high-profile party planner Viren Khanna will also be in their custody for further questioning.

The CCB started probing the drug menace in the Kannada film industry after prominent producer-director Inderjit Lankesh appeared before it and claimed that several actors were consuming drugs at rave parties.

He furnished a list of 15 names, locations where rave parties were held and information about the drug peddlers.

Lankesh came to the fore after actress Kangana Ranaut accused Bollywood celebrities of drug use following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June.

Indo-Asian News Service


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