Aryan Khan, son of film star Shah Rukh Khan, was supplied drugs by one of the other men arrested in the cruise ship drug bust, the anti-drugs agency said in court today as it argued against the 23-year-old being given bail. It has earlier stated that the young celebrity did not have any drugs on him when the raid took place.
Aryan Khan was present in court in a dark blue-coloured sweatshirt and a baseball cap, as his lawyer, Satish Maneshinde countered that he had been invited as a Bollywood celebrity to the cruise, and had not boarded the ship when he was searched for drugs. “I was invited as one of the persons connected to Bollywood and add glamour”. He added, “They asked me if I was carrying drugs and I said no, they searched by bag and found nothing.”
Aryan Khan is listed as Accused No 1 in the case that has generated front-page headlines.
“Question is it is one connected case and we have to establish the entire conspiracy and the deal. We cannot be segregating them. It cannot be done. The purpose of the agency is to find out the real culprit and the entire gang. Or else it will continue forever,” argued Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, referencing the allegation that Aryan Khan has information on a chain of drug suppliers.
Shah Rukh Khan has not commented so far on the investigation or through his lawyers or other representatives.
Aryan Khan was arrested on Saturday after a raid on a cruise ship that was to travel from Mumbai to Goa. A total of 16 people have been arrested so far including those that helped organize the event.
Among those arrested is Arbaaz Merchant, who is 26 years old and is a friend of Aryan Khan. “Aryan Khan and my son are being made scapegoats,” Aslam Merchant, his father, told NDTV today.
The Narcotics Control Bureau or NCB told a court in Mumbai today that it needs to keep Aryan Khan in custody so that it can cross-examine him in detail along with Achit Kumar who, it claims, supplied drugs to Aryan Khan. But it has had plenty of time to do so already, argued Aryan Khan’s lawyer.
The agency had earlier said that it had not found any drugs on Aryan Khan but suggested that WhatsApp chats that allegedly involve him need further scrutiny as they point to the supply of drugs by an international cartel. Today, the NCB said that Aryan Khan needs to be confronted with Achit Kumar, whose custody has been extended by the court till Saturday.
Among the many controversies surrounding his arrest is the fact that a private detective of sorts was allowed access to him after he was removed from the ship; he also took a selfie with the superstar’s son and was filmed holding Aryan Khan as he was escorted into the NCB’s office.
Separately, a man who describes himself as a BJP worker for “15-16 years” has told NDTV that he tipped off the agency about the cruise and was therefore part of the raid. The BJP worker, Manish Bhanushali, said to NDTV today, “I received information about drug peddlers and what they were going to do in the party. I am a BJP worker for the last 10-15 years… Just because I am a BJP worker they are targeting me… The NCB had information and I too had information, and that’s how we conducted the raid together.”
Legal experts as well as a Maharashtra minister have said the role and access of outsiders amounts to a brazen violation of basic laws and rules that are to be followed by law enforcement agencies.