The Bengaluru Central Crime Branch police has nabbed Aditya Alva, brother-in-law of Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, in the Sandalwood drug case. Confirming the arrest to the media, Bengaluru Joint Police commissioner (Crime) Sandeep Patil said that Aditya Alva, who was absconding for over four months, was arrested on Monday night from Chennai. "We were involved in a continuous operation to arrest him. We received a tip off that he was in Chennai after which a team arrested him," he explained. Aditya, who is the son of late Janata Party leader Jeevaraj Alva, is accused number six in the Sandalwood drug case and had been absconding for four months. According to CCB sources, Aditya was arrested from a resort located between Chennai and Mahabalipuram.
CCB sources said that the investigators were tracking mobile phone locations of persons close to Aditya and that they had compiled a list of people whom he was in contact with regularly. Sources claimed that CCB Inspector Puneet received information of his whereabouts after which an operation to arrest him was planned and carried out. CCB sleuths have brought Aditya to Bengaluru and he is currently being questioned at the CCB's office in Chamarajpet in Bengaluru. Police sources said that he would be produced before the special court in NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) cases later in the day.
Aditya has been accused of hosting parties at his farmhouse in Hebbal in Bengaluru, and police suspect that banned and narcotic drugs were supplied and consumed during the parties. CCB sources had earlier revealed that Aditya and one of the prime accused in the case, party organiser Viren Khanna, had allegedly hosted parties together. While Aditya is accused of providing space for the parties at his resort House of Life in Hebbal, the CCB claimed that Viren Khanna was involved in organising and driving high-profile persons to these parties. The CCB had earlier in September conducted a search operation at his resort - House of Life - and his residence and seized several documents.
On October 15, 2020, in search of Aditya, the CCB had raided the house of his sister Priyanka Alva, who is the wife of Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, in Mumbai. Subsequently, the police summoned her to appear before them in Bengaluru in connection with this case. But Priyanka failed to acknowledge the summons and did not appear before the CCB. CCB have also interrogated Ricky Rai, son of former underworld don and social activist Muthappa Rai, a day after his house was raided in Hebbal in northern Bengaluru. The CCB had conducted raids at Rai's farmhouse in Bidadi in Ramanagara district and his house in Sadashivanagar in Bengaluru.
The police believed that Ricky had given asylum to Aditya and so they called him over the whereabouts of the accused. The police also suspect Ricky Rai as he is in contact with some of the accused in the Sandalwood drug case. Aditya was among the 17 people who are booked in the case in which actors Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjanaa Galrani have been arrested. Three weeks ago, the Supreme Court denied Aditya Alva's plea to quash the FIR registered against him at the Cottonpet Police Station in connection with the drug case.
The apex court also denied Alva's plea to procure anticipatory bail. Aditya's legal counsel Nishanth Patil had earlier filed an anticipatory bail plea in the Karnataka High Court, which was also denied. The Kannada film industry has been under the scanner of the police for drug-related offences after the police and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) nabbed an international drug trafficking racket in multi-city raids in August 2020. The CCB police had issued a lookout notice for Aditya and two other accused who were on the run since September 21. Aditya, instead of seeking bail from the court, had approached the high court seeking the cancellation of the FIR lodged against him.
The CCB has now successfully nabbed Alva and Kannada film producer Shivaprakash Chippi in a gap of just two days while they are yet to nab Sheik Faazil - another prime accused in this case who is also said to be on the run. He is suspected to be a hawala operator who was funnelling funds to a well oiled drug supply chain for high-profile events. The CCB claimed that they have visited Assam, West Bengal and Goa among other places to search for the accused who are on the run. So far, the CCB has been able to gather electronic evidence against most of these accused. Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate is also probing a money laundering case against the accused persons in the Sandalwood drug case. The ED sources said that the actors had assets worth more than they could have procured based on their income. The ED told the NDPS court in Bengaluru that it suspects the accused funnelled money procured by distribution of drugs.