NCB suspends 2 officers for skipping Karishma Prakash, Bharti Singh case hearings, resulting in their bail

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has placed two of its officers under suspension from the Mumbai zonal unit for their suspicious role which allegedly helped two accused in the ongoing drugs probe in securing bail. The two officials are Investigation Officers (IO) in the cases registered against comedian Bharti Singh and her husband Harsh Limbachiya and that of the manager of actress Deepika Padukone, Karishma Prakash.

Other than the role of the two officers, the role NCB’s prosecutor is also under the scanner. According to sources, the investigating officers alongwith the public prosecutor failed to appear during scheduled bail hearing in the two cases following which bail was granted to the accused in both the cases.

NCB had conducted searches at the residence of Karishma Prakash on October 27 following information from an arrested drug peddler. Though Prakash wasn’t present at the residence when the search happened, it was conducted by NCB officials in the presence of Prakash’s neighbours and 1.7 grams of hashish was recovered.

A case was registered against Karishma Prakash and summons were issued to her to join the investigation. After failing to appear despite multiple summons sent by NCB, Karishma Prakash moved court seeking anticipatory bail.

The court gave interim relief to Karishma Prakash but asked her to join the investigation. Prakash appeared before NCB while the agency informed the court that they wanted to interrogate her in custody as she wasn’t cooperating in the probe.

As per sources, last week on the day of final hearing in the anticipatory bail application of Karishma Prakash, the IO and prosecutor failed to appear following which the court granted anticipatory bail to her.

Karishma Prakash was also under investigation by NCB when her chat messages with actress Deepika Padukone were found by NCB. Both Deepika Padukone and Karishma Prakash were summoned and their statements were recorded by the Delhi NCB team.

In the other case, on October 21, following a disclosure by a drug peddler, the residence of actor Bharti Singh and her husband Harsh Limbachiya was searched which resulted in the recovery of 86.5 grams of marijuana.

NCB officials questioned Bharti and Harsh at the office after which they confessed to drug consumption. Both were placed under arrest and sent to judicial custody on October 22. Bharti and Harsh moved court seeking bail and the hearing was scheduled on October 23. The IO in the case and the prosecutor failed to appear during the hearing following which ex-parte bail was granted to Bharti and Harsh the same day.

In both the cases, the Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede from NCB found the role of the two IOs suspicious, which eventually helped the accused in securing bail. The report was shared with the NCB headquarters and following the prima facie findings, the two IOs were placed under suspension pending departmental inquiry. Sources also said that the NCB could rope in another public prosecutor who would represent the department in courts replacing the present one.

NCB has moved the NDPs court challenging the bail granted to Bharti Singh and Harsh Limbachiya.

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