The Sandalwood Drug Case heated up after the arrest of Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi on September 3. The arrest was made linking Kannada film actors with drugs
By Syed Ali Mujtaba
THE Sandalwood drug scandal in Karnataka has led to the arrest of several film stars and has now sparked a new controversy and that’s ‘Love Jihad.’ Sandalwood refers to the Kannada language film industry in Karnataka.
The Sandalwood drug scandal story became juicy after the arrest of actress Sanjjanaa Galrani by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) on September 8.
A Twitter handler @ShobhaBJP whose actual name is Shobha Karandlaje has raised the issue of the evil link between Love-Jihad and drugs. She pointed out that ‘Love Jihad’ cases being reported across the country have links with the drug mafia.
This BJP sympathiser wanted this angle to be also probed and the motive to stir social harmony to be stopped.
It is true that Galrani had converted to Islam in October 2018 and changed her name to Mahira. In the affidavit, the actress had declared that she converted to Islam on her own will after studying Islam for years. The document also has her photograph along with the date of conversion–9 October, 2018.
Galrani who had made her film debut in Tamil movie Oru Kadhal Seiver (2006), and soon became known for her controversial role in the Kannada film Ganda Hendathi (2006) remake of the Hindi film Murder (2004) is surrounded by rumours of dating Dr. Azeez Pasha, a Bengaluru-based cardiovascular surgeon.
The speculation became nearer to truth when a picture of Galrani with Pasha surfaced in the social media confirming their relationship.
In the picture, both could be seen dressed in a traditional outfit, which looks like a wedding attire.
On being quizzed, both Galrani and Dr Pasha had shared differing views about their marital status. The actress’s mother had her own opinion.
Galrani, who is trained in salsa dancing, said; “I am not married, I want to make it clear that I am not,” she said while addressing the media on the drug case.
On the other hand, Dr Pasha said, “Yes, the photograph is from a ceremony that is akin to a marriage.” But when Galrani’s mother was asked, she confirmed that the actress got engaged to Dr Pasha and their wedding was postponed due to covid-19.
“They were engaged around three and a half years ago. They were set to be married this April, but the pandemic made us postpone it,” the mother said.
The Sandalwood Drug Case heated up after the arrest of Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi on September 3. The arrest was made linking Kannada film actors with drugs.
The Central Crime Branch (CCB) also arrested Galrani in the same case. She came under the scanner after her assistant was held by the CCB officials for alleged role in supplying drugs in film parties.
Both Galrani and Dwivedi, who are currently lodged in the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail in Bengaluru, have vehemently denied all such allegations.
Galrani in a video that went viral is seen refusing to give her blood samples and then arguing with the investigating officer and other senior doctors that she had lost trust in the police and that she had no clue why she was arrested.
The Central Crime Branch officials have named 12 people in the First Information Report (FIR) related to the use of contraband drugs in Sandalwood.
The CCB also arrested Dwivedi’s friend and RTO clerk Ravishankar, realtor Rahul Shetty and an event manager, Viren Khanna, and Rahul Thonshe, a close friend of Galrani.
In the FIR, it has been mentioned that both the actresses supplied illegal narcotic substances during parties that they organised.
Apart from this, actor couple Aindrita Ray and Diganth Manchale was also summoned during the investigation of the Sandalwood drug case.
Galrani who is brought up in Bengaluru, is of Sindhi origin. She received her first modelling offer when she was in college. She appeared in over 60 television advertisements, the most notable being the ‘Fastrack’ with John Abraham.
Galrani has done over 50 projects, including 43 films. Her co-stars in films include Shivanna, Darshan , Pawan Kalyan, Prabhas, Mohanlal, Mamooty, besides other stalwarts in the South Indian film industry. Her television projects include ‘Big Boss’ in Kannada. She has also worked at Colours Channel in Hindi.
The Sandalwood drugs scandal has echoes from the arrest of Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty. She was arrested for her alleged role in the drugs angle which had emerged in the investigations into the suicide death of her boyfriend and actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Rajput was found dead at his apartment in Mumbai on June 14. The initial investigation revealed that prima facie it was a case of suicide but later his death has led to a drug trail in Bollywood, now under investigation.