No bail for Aryan Khan yet; another hearing in HC tomorrow
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which had come under a cloud after shocking allegations of payoffs were made against its top officials in the Aryan Khan’s cruise drug bust case, has once again opposed the of Shah Rukh Khan's son, on the grounds that the superstar's manager Pooja Dadlani has "appeared to have influenced" a witness.
Aryan Khan could not get bail in the drugs seizure case on Tuesday (October 26) as the Bombay High Court posted the matter for another hearing on Wednesday (October 27).
Meanwhile, Shah Rukh Khan has roped in former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Aryan Khan in the the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. Rohatgi argued before the judge that Aryan was a “young man” who should be sent to rehabilitation instead of jail.
Aryan had moved his bail plea to Bombay High Court after the lower courts rejected his pleas.
Rohatgi maintained in the HC that neither could the NCB recover any drugs from Aryan nor any medical test showed he had consumed drugs. The former Attorney General said the WhatsApp chats recovered by NCB had nothing to do with the cruise.
Rohatgi also argued in the HC that Aryan has nothing to do with the allegations and counter allegations being levelled between NCP leader Nawak Malik and NCB director Sameer Wankhede.
Earlier, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which had come under a cloud after shocking allegations of payoffs were made against its top officials in the Aryan Khan’s cruise drug bust case, once again opposed the bail plea of Shah Rukh Khan’s son, on the grounds that the superstar’s manager Pooja Dadlani has “appeared to have influenced” a witness.
Aryan Khan has been in jail since October 8 when he was arrested on a Mumbai cruise ship over drug-related charges.
In its written reply to the Bombay High Court submitted yesterday, the NCB has also said that it is believed that given Aryan Khan’s “influential position”, he could try to tamper with the investigation and derail it.
The anti-drugs agency is continuing to argue that it needs more time to pursue the “international drug connection of Aryan Khan” revealed in the investigation. “The same is being investigated and as per stipulated guidelines, sufficient time is required to properly unearth this international drug connection,” said the NCB, according to a NDTV report.
Moreover, the agency told the High Court that due to Aryan Khan’s influential position in society, he may interfere with the evidence and influence other witnesses whom he personally knows.
SRK’s son had approached the HC for an urgent bail hearing after a special court under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act denied his plea on October 20, and later extended his judicial custody till October 30.
The Aryan Khan arrest case has got embroiled in a political slugfest between the Nationalist Congress party leader, Nawab Malik and the NCB zonal director, Sameer Wankhede.
In its written statement to the Bombay High court, the NCB has referred to the allegations made by one of the witnesses in the raid, Prabhakar Sail.
Sail had claimed in an affidavit that Kiran Gosavi, the private investigator whose selfie with Aryan Khan went viral, had planned to demand ₹25 crore from Shah Rukh Khan’s manager Pooja Dadlani to settle the case. Of this, he claims, ₹8 crore was meant for Sameer Wankhede, the NCB officer leading the investigation.
The NCB has now latched on to these allegations made by Sail as “clear” attempts to derail the investigation. The national anti-drugs agency wrote to the HC in its statement that the affidavit clearly names one Pooja Dadlani, manager who is connected to this applicant (Aryan Khan).
“It so appears that the said lady appears to have influenced such panch witness when the investigation is ongoing, such interference at the stage of investigation is a malafide attempt to ensure that the same is derailed and the quest of truth is obstructed,” said the agency letter.
The NCB also pointed out that the document was not filed in any proceeding before any court despite the fact that the matter is subjudice before the sessions court and this court.
Meanwhile, a NDTV report published a story showing images of NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede along with the controversial KP Gosavi, one of the key witnesses in the cruise drug bust case. The images seemed to have been taken on the same day (October 2) the agency raided a cruise ship anchored off the Mumbai coast and arrested Aryan Khan and seven others. The images are reportedly from inside the offices at the city’s port.
There is a photograph of Gosavi along with Wankhede and Manish Bhanushali, a BJP worker as well.
It is still not clear how civilian witnesses in the case were allowed to participate in the raid and interact with the arrested persons. Gosavi seemed to have had unfettered access to the accused no 1, Aryan Khan, son of SRK.
The agency, however, has denied any claims of impropriety and has said that Sail as a witness has turned “hostile”. However, it has backed its investigation in the Aryan Khan arrest case though an internal probe has been ordered against Wankhede.
The hearing in the Bombay High Court will resume on Wednesday afternoon at 2.30 pm.