Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan (R) poses for a picture with his wife Gauri Khan and son Aryan Khan. Picture: Sujit Jaiswal/AFP
Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan (R) poses for a picture with his wife Gauri Khan and son Aryan Khan. Picture: Sujit Jaiswal/AFP

Arrest of Shah Rukh Khan’s son shines light on Bollywood’s substance abuse problem

By Liam Karabo Joyce, IANS Time of article published Oct 5, 2021

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Aryan Khan, the son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, was arrested over the weekend on drug charges.

The 23-year-old was arrested by India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on charges of consumption, sale, and purchase of narcotic drugs after a rave party was busted aboard a luxury cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai.

Aryan and seven others were taken into custody by the NCB and formally arrested.

Initially, Aryan and two others - Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant - were arrested. The trio appeared before the Esplanade Magistrate Court, amid tight security, late on Sunday and was sent to the NCB's custody for one day.

Aryan has been charged under various sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

According to media outlets in India, the NCB's Superintendent V.V. Singh, in his arrest memo, said Aryan was being arrested under the NDPS Act for his involvement in the consumption, sale and purchase of contraband (drugs) along with other known and unknown persons.

At a hearing on Monday, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Court R.M. Nerlikar also sent Dhamecha and Merchant to the custody of Narcotics Control Bureau till October 7.

After several hours of heated arguments between the NCB lawyers and the advocates of the three accused, the court rejected the latter's plea for bail and sent them to the agency's custody for another 3 days.

In the order, ACMM Nerlikar noted that Khan had accompanied the co-accused (Merchant) from whom the contraband drugs were recovered.

Seeking extended custody for the accused trio till October 11, the Additional Solicitor-General Anil Singh argued that links found on Khan's WhatsApp chats pointed to an international racket.

Besides the 8 nabbed from the swoop on the cruiser, Singh said that one more person has been arrested by the NCB from Juhu and recovered 'commercial quantity' of drugs from him, and the custody of the accused trio was necessary to unearth their nexus.

Making a strong plea for bail, Khan's lawyer Satish Maneshinde said he was invited by the party organisers, he did not pay for the party, was allotted the best suite on the ship, no drugs were found on him, but a small quantity of 6-gm Charas was recovered from his friend Merchant.

Merchant's lawyer Taraq K. Sayed pointed out that the NCB remand application was absolutely silent on the quantity of drugs recovered from each accused.

At this, when the ACMM asked the agency, the NCB replied that small quantities of 6 gm and 5 gm respectively were recovered from Merchant and Dhamecha, besides 5 gm MDMA and 10 gm Cocaine found from another accused Vikrant Chhoker, but did not mention Aryan Khan's name here.

Singh contended that though commercial quantity of drugs may not be found, the accused trio's custody was required for a few days more to find out the links, who is the sources, how it was financed.

The NCB added that Khan's phone was being investigated to ascertain his involvement in the consumption or possession of drugs, and Maneshinde cited past judgements to prove that commercial quantity of drugs found on someone else cannot be used to incriminate another accused, while WhatsApp chats cannot be used to frame the accused.

The trio was produced before the court after their one-day remand granted on Sunday ended on Monday.

The arrest was made in connection with the seizure of 13 gms cocaine, 5 gms MD, 21 gms charas, and 22 pills of MDMA, totally worth R26 760 from him.

Aryan is said to have acknowledged the charges and said that he understood the grounds of his arrest and has informed his family of the same.

The arrest came after the NCB's swoop on Saturday evening aboard the Cordelia Cruises deluxe ship as it was preparing for a scheduled voyage from Mumbai to Goa.

Last year, following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Sara Ali Khan, the daughter of actor Saif Ali Khan, was summoned by the NCB in connection with the probe into the drug nexus associated with Bollywood.

Deepika Padukone was another star who was summoned.

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