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Twist to drug racket case, ED probing Viren 'hawala' deals
- Police seize currency notes from Viren Khanna’s house
- Bitcoins used for financial transactions
Bengaluru: In a fresh twist to the Sandalwood drug racket case, the Bengaluru City Crime Branch (CCB) on Thursday raided the house of Viren Khanna, an event and party organiser, in upscale Shanthi Nagar near the hockey stadium and seized a haul of foreign currency notes.
Although the estimated face value of the notes is not known, sources said currency notes of at least 13 countries, including US dollars, were seized. The seizure comes a week after arresting Viren who is in custody. With the seizure of foreign currency notes, the investigating agencies are now exploring the illegal conversion of currency angle
The investigators are also looking into the aspect of 'hawala' transactions.
In this connection, the Enforcement Directorate has been roped in to probe the transactions. On Thursday, the ED officials held an hour long closed door meeting with Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil. According to preliminary investigation, Viren Khanna was involved in several 'hawala' transanctions between Sri Lanka and Bengaluru.
Further, investigations by the CCB Viren Khanna and Senegal national Luma Samuel revealed that they were using Bitcoins as means of financial transactions. The investigators found that Viren Khanna and Senegal National Loum Pepper Samba were procuring banned drugs via the dark web because of the perceived anonymity.
The transactions were mostly through `bitcoins' to avoid the investigators glare. Loum Pepper Samba is not cooperating with the investigating authorities. He had told the police that he does not know English or any other language. Viren Khanna is believed to have organised several rave parties which were attended by Sandalwood, Bollywood actors, VVIPs, celebrities and even foreign nationals. Viren is accused Number 3. Recently, the Central Crime Branch found a pair of Karnataka state police uniforms in Viren's residence leaving the investigators baffled.
Earlier, the Bengaluru police registered FIR against 12 people in the drugs haul case, which has put the scanner on several personalities of the Kannda film industry, including Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjanaa Galrani. Apart from the two actors, the FIR named Viren Khanna, Prashant Ranka, Vaibhav Jain, Abhiswamy, Aditya Alva, Simon, Prashant Babu, Ashwin, Rahul Tonse, Vinay and a Sengalese national, Loum Pepper who was the main supplier of the drugs. Rahul Shetty, Sanjjanaa Galrani's friend, is believed to have organised several private parties in the city and owns several casinos in Sri Lanka. Sanjjanaa and Rahul allegedly attended private parties at various casinos in neighbouring countries.
Earlier, Prashanth Sambaragi, a celebrity manager, had alleged that Chamarajpet MLA B Zameer Ahmed Khan too allegedly attended several parties in Sri Lankan casinos. Sambaragi said that the CBI had stumbled upon a drug peddler called Imtiyaz Khatri, who used to supply drugs to actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who committed suicide. Sambaragi alleged that Imtiyaz Khan had hosted his birthday party which was attended by even Bollywood stars Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan. Among the other guests, a Karnataka MLA and his son were also present. The MLA was earlier with JD(S) and later joined Congress and won again, he had alleged.
Meanwhile, CCB sleuths are on the lookout for Sheikh Fazil, who is said to be involved in Hawala transactions for the drug mafia. Fazil allegedly rubbed his shoulders with the Congress politicians, including Chamarajpet MLA Zameer Ahamed Khan.