The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Wednesday filed a criminal case against Rhea Chakraborty and others for their alleged dealings in banned drugs, officials said.
They said sections 20, 22, 27 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) have been pressed in the complaint filed by the federal anti-drugs agency on an official reference received from the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
These sections under the NDPS pertain to punishment for contravention in relation to cannabis plant and cannabis (20), punishment for contravention in relation to psychotropic substances (22), punishment for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance (27) and punishment for abetment and criminal conspiracy (29).
The alleged narcotics dealing links are connected to the criminal probe being conducted in the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, 34, who was found hanging at his duplex flat in Mumbai's Bandra area on June 14.
Officials said NCB Director General (NCB) Rakesh Asthana held two rounds of meetings and after going through the evidence available and obtaining legal opinion, he directed his officials to file a case.
They said a special team under the supervision of NCB Deputy Director (operations) KPS Malhotra has been constituted and officials of the agency from its unit in Delhi and Mumbai will carry out the investigation.
The agency is soon expected to summon Rhea, flatmate and creative manager of Rajput Siddharth Pithani, his house and business managers, accountant, his domestic helps and some more people for questioning.
The NCB is now the third federal investigative agency probing this case apart from the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The ED, which is probing a money laundering angle into the death of Rajput, has questioned Rhea twice earlier and has obtained 'deleted WhatsApp messages' after forensic examination of her phone.
The deleted messages, they said, allegedly indicate dealings in banned drugs and chats about the procurement and consumption of these drugs that includes cannabis.
Rhea has been questioned by the ED about these suspect drug deal messages deleted from her phone and her statement on these allegations has been recorded by it under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said.
It is understood that the 'deleted WhatsApp messages' pertain to Rhea purportedly talking to her friends and some of Rajput's domestic helpers about certain banned narcotics.
The NCB, they said, will probe the possible 'source, trade, consumption and handling' of these banned drugs and their possible links to Rajput as well as his death, they said.
Rhea's lawyer Satish Manehsinde had vehemently denied the drug link allegations made against the 28-year-old actor on Tuesday.
"Rhea has never consumed drugs in her life ever. She is ready for a blood test," Maneshinde had said.
The actor is the prime accused in this case and has stated in her petition before the Supreme Court that she was in a live-in relationship with Rajput.
The ED had shared these alleged narcotics related chats with the CBI too that is probing Rajput's death.