The Bombay High Court will today hear the bail application of Shah Rukh Khan’s son, Aryan Khan, who has been in jail since October 8 in the drugs-on-cruise case. The 23-year-old son of the superstar has been denied bail twice.
The plea come up in court as Sameer Wankhede, the Narcotics Control of Bureau officer leading the investigation, has been hit with a Rs 8 crore payoff claim by a witness in the case.
The anti-drugs agency has backed the officer, citing an “impeccable service record”. Regarding the payoff claim – by Prabhakar Sail, a witness in the case – the NCB said Mr Sail had turned ‘hostile’.
Last week, a special court in Mumbai said Aryan Khan’s WhatsApp chats indicated “he is dealing in illicit drug activities of narcotic substances on a regular basis”, so it could not be said he is not likely to commit similar offences while on bail.
The court had also said that the material placed on record points to a “nexus” between Aryan Khan and suppliers and peddlers.
Though no drugs were found on Aryan Khan, the court said he knew about six grams of charas hidden in his friend Arbaaz Merchant’s shoe, and this amounted to “conscious possession”.
Lawyers Satish Maneshinde and Amit Desai, appearing for Aryan Khan, argued in court that the NCB was “misinterpreting” his WhatsApp chats to implicate him.
Aryan Khan also questioned the special court’s contention, while refusing him bail, that since he is an influential person he may tamper with evidence in the case if released from custody.
“There is no presumption in law that merely because a person is influential, there is likelihood of him tampering with the evidence,” the appeal said.
Aryan Khan, his friend Arbaaz Merchant and model Munmun Dhamecha, and five others were arrested after officers of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) raided a rave party on a cruise ship off Mumbai on October 2. Since then, the number of arrests has gone up to 20.
Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan, who spoke to their jailed son on video call last Friday, have not made any public statement till now.
The drugs case has also ignited a political row with the Maharashtra government accusing the NCB of going after specific individuals on orders from the Centre.
NCP leader Nawab Malik, who has been spearheading criticism of the anti-drugs agency and its inquiries into the Aryan Khan case, has alleged forgery linked to Sameer Wankhede’s birth document.
Mr Wankhede hit back saying it was an “unnecessary invasion” of his family’s privacy, adding it was “intended to malign me, my family, my father, and my late mother”.