KOLKATA (India) — Famous Indian comedian Bharti Singh and her husband have been arrested by India’s top drug regulating body, in the latest round of probes over Bollywood on narcotic abuse.
Mrs. Bharti, who is a famous and well-established comedian in the Indian entertainment industry, was arrested a day before her husband’s arrest. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) arrested her husband on Sunday.
Haarsh Limbachiyaa, 33, producer and TV personality, was reportedly questioned for 15 hours by the NCB and was taken into custody by the regulator.
On-site footage showed Limbachiyaa was taken into custody in a white agency van. A day before, his wife Bharti was taken in a red car, Indian media reports confirm.
The couple’s apartment in Andheri, Mumbai, was searched on Saturday and a small amount of cannabis was found. Both Bharti and her husband have accepted possession of cannabis.
“Both Bharti Singh and her husband Haarsh Limbachiyaa accepted consuming ganja. Ms. Singh was placed under arrest under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1986,” the NCB release read, NDTV reported.
Although the number of drugs found in Bharti’s home was not of commercial quantity, nonetheless law has up to 10-years in prison on the store if proven guilty.
The sale of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances is illegal in India, under the NDPS Act 1986.
The act “prohibits a person the production/manufacturing/cultivation, possession, sale, purchasing, transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.”
The arrest after a drug probe is the latest in a wave of interrogations by the federal drug control board on several Bollywood heavyweights.
The sudden demise of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput in July ignited a drug angle following the actor’s death by suicide, and lead to a chain of probes on many other Bollywood celebs, including leading lady Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan among others.
Earlier this month, NBC also searched actor Arjun Rampal’s house who was reportedly questioned for five hours. The actor said he complied with the agency and the drug found in possession was prescribed.
Film-maker Firoz Nadiadwala was also summoned and his wife was arrested after the agency found 10 grams of marijuana in their possession.
Sushant Singh’s former girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty was the first person to be arrested by the narcotics board in September, following days of questioning the actor.
The arrest was followed by intense scrutiny of the Indian media, which critics term as ‘media trial.’ Advocacy groups criticized Indian media’s syndication of Chakraborty’s story that dominated prime time and headlines for nearly a month after Rajput died from suicide.
After spending a month in jail, Chakraborty has now been released on bail.
Chakrabarty’s arrest came a few days after her brother Showick Chakraborty and Sushant’s former home manager Miranda was arrested by NCB over similar drug procuring charges.
According to reports Chakrabarty accepted that she did facilitate drugs to Sushant at times in one of her hours-long questionnaires with NCB, We The World reported earlier.
Cannabis and by-products like bhang, ganja, and charas have been known to have consumed in India for hundreds of years. Even during the Colonia era, moderate use of the drugs was encouraged.
For eons, narcotics and psychotropics like marijuana has been widely consumed by the Indian esoteric class like sages, lunatics, fakirs, nomads, and yogis.
The drug even finds symbolic mention in Indian ancient texts. Cannabis consumption is known in India for at least 2000 BCE.
Until 1985, drug consumption was not illegal in India. But after the US began to campaign and pressurize nations for a global ban on the consumption of narcotics after the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961, the Rajiv Gandhi government finally passed the NDPS act in 1985.