Deccan Chronicle

Discovery of foreign currency in Sandalwood drug bust attracts ED's attention

Deccan Chronicle| vinay madhav

Published on: September 10, 2020 | Updated on: September 10, 2020

Bengaluru police found foreign currency notes from eight currencies when they arrested the drug dealers

Kannada actress Sanjjanaa Galrani being detained by the crime branch in Bengaluru in connection with Sandalwood drug case.  PTI photo

Kannada actress Sanjjanaa Galrani being detained by the crime branch in Bengaluru in connection with Sandalwood drug case. PTI photo

Bengaluru: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has come sniffing for leads in the drug scandal rocking the Kannada film industry. In particular, the discovery of foreign currency at the centre of the scandal has attracted the agency’s attention. On Thursday its officials called on joint commissioner of police (crime) Sandeep Patil in connection with the recent drug busts, including the arrest of two film actresses.

Sources in the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Bengaluru Police said they found wads of foreign currency notes belonging to at least 10 countries in the house of Veeren Khanna, an event manager who is among the people arrested in the scandal so far.

However, in their singing to the police, Veeren Khanna and fellow detainee, Senegalese drug dealer Luma Samuel, have revealed that the drug transactions were conducted mostly through bitcoin to avoid the glare of enforcement agencies.

Also, most of the transactions between Bengaluru and Sri Lanka were hawala deals, meaning that there is no paper trail.

The CCB sleuths are on the lookout for a man named Sheikh Fazil, who is said to be involved in hawala transactions for the drug mafia. Fazil is at large after Veeren Khanna and actress Sanjjanaa Galrani were arrested. The CCB has been questioning his family members for the last two days.

CCB sources also let it be known that Fazil was once seen around with Congress politicians, especially the Chamarajpet MLA Zameer Ahamed Khan. Though police themselves have neither confirmed nor denied any links to Zameer, his name was first mentioned by Prashanth Sambaragi, a celebrity manager as well as small-time film producer.

While spilling the beans on Sanjjanaa, he dragged in the name of Zameer, saying the MLA was a visitor to casinos in Sri Lanka. Zameer has refused to comment on these insinuations.

And apparently there are moles in the police. The CCB realized this when its detectives went to arrest Sanjjanaa, and she already knew of their arrival. They also found WhatsApp chats between Veeren Khanna and drug dealer Luma Samuel in which they had discussed Bengaluru police tracking of drug rackets. 

"Veeren Khanna alerted Luma about the Bengaluru police action, and the drug dealer acknowledged that even he had received information through his sources,'' sources in the CCB said.

The CCB has already put one ACP, who had earlier worked in the Cubbon Park subdivision, under scanner for involvement with Veeren Khanna, sources added.

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