Kannada film body denies drug links in Sandalwood

Bengaluru, Sep 2 (IANS) A miffed Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) on Wednesday denied that some actors in ‘Sandalwood’ had drug links and urged police to investigate claims by Kannada film producer Indrajit Lankesh on the nexus between the industry and suppliers of banned substances.

Bengaluru, Sep 2 (IANS) A miffed Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) on Wednesday denied that some actors in ‘Sandalwood’ had drug links and urged police to investigate claims by Kannada film producer Indrajit Lankesh on the nexus between the industry and suppliers of banned substances.

“As Lankesh gave names of a dozen Kannada actors to the state central crime branch police on August 31 and submitted some documents in support of his claims, we will take action against if the accused are proved guilty,” KFCC representative Sa Ra Govindu told reporters here.

Objecting to Lankesh going first to media on August 29, and alleging that he had proof of at least dozen actors from the state’s film industry, popular as ‘Sandalwood’ and some musicians taking drugs at late night or rave parties in and around the city, Govind said he (Lankesh) should have shared the information with the FKCC and discussed.

“Instead of meeting and informing us about the alleged nexus between drug mafias and the actors, Lankesh briefed police and spilled the beans on the alleged drug links to our industry, which is incorrect,” said Govindu.

Lankesh made startling revelations about the rampant abuse of banned drugs in the multi-crore film industry three days after the Narcotic Control Bureau busted a drug trafficking racket in the southern state and arrested former Kannada television actress D. Anikha and two of her accomplices, R. Ravindran and M. Anoop from the city on August 26.

The central agency also seized huge cache of drugs from the accused, including 145 ecstasies or MDMA pills and Rs 2.2 lakh in cash from Royal Suites Hotel Apartment in the city’s northeast suburb on August 21 and more pills in a follow-up raid last week.

The drug racket is suspected to supply recreational and party drugs to sandalwood actors, children of VIPs, students and others.

“Noted musicians and actors in the Kannada film industry are under the scanner after their links to drugs came to light,” a NCB official earlier said.

Police has again summoned Indrajit on Thursday with evidence of actors and others using drugs even during film-shooting and late night or rave parties.

“Though Lankesh is a film producer, director and scriptwriter, he is not yet a member of our chambers and never told us about actors, dancers and music composers taking drugs,” asserted KFCC president Jivaraj said.

Popular actor Doddanna said Sandalwood was considered a place of worship and a gurukula by hundreds of cine artistes who sweat to make a career in the film world.

“If some people are indulging in abuse, they should be punished. We have not seen or heard of drug use in the film industry. It is unfortunate that Gandhinagar, where theatres and offices of film distributors are located in the city centre as ‘Ganjanagar’,” lamented Doddanna.

Lankesh, 43, is the son of late noted editor P. Lankesh, who launched the popular “Lankesh patrika” (weekly tabloid) in Kannada in the 1980s. He is also the elder brother of eminent journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead at her house in the city’s southwest suburb on September 5, 2017 by unidentified assailants.

“As I am associated with the film industry as a producer, director and writer, I came to know that some of the parties in the Sandalwood circle are hosted by drug mafias in the state,” recalled Lankesh.

Bengaluru Joint Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil said the anti-narcotics wing of the Crime Branch would investigate the case based on details Lankesh shared with it on the alleged nexus between drug dealers and Kannada film actors.

–IANS

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